Where words fail, music speaks. - Hans Christian Anderson
2017 CMEA-NS educator of the year, Gavin Spencer!
As a junior in high school in 1989, Mr. Gavin Spencer was selected to sing in the Oregon All-State Honor Choir under the direction of Dr. Anton Armstrong from St. Olaf College. Dr. Armstrong inspired him to become a choral conductor.
Mr. Spencer received his BS in Music (vocal performance) at Western Oregon University and Master of Arts in Teaching at George Fox University, where he did half his student teaching at Athey Creek Middle School in West Linn, Oregon. The other half of was done at Wilsonville High School where he was mentored by master teacher, Sue Schreiner, who influenced him to be passionate about choral music and setting high standards for young people.
In the Fall of 1999 he began his first teaching position on the Oregon Coast in his home town of Tillamook, Oregon. He taught two choirs at Tillamook Junior High School and 3 choirs at Tillamook High School, where he also coached freshmen boys basketball and was the jump coach for the track team. In his three years there, the Concert Choir proudly placed 8th, 6th and 5th at the Oregon State Choir Competition.
Currently, Mr. Spencer is the Choral Conductor, Musical Director and Madrigal Dinner Director at Shasta High School. He conducts five ensembles, including the Madrigal Singers and A Cappella choir. In the 2016 Golden State Choir Competition, which is recognized as California's most competitive choral completion, Shasta's A Cappella Choir placed 3rd place and the Madrigals placed 5th. In addition, all the Shasta High choirs are proud to regularly receive "superior" ratings at choral festivals.
Directing the Madrigal Dinner is one Mr. Spencer's favorite events because it effects his students and community members in such a powerful and moving way. This "sold out" event seats 1600 guests in 8 performances. In the spring, the Shasta High Music Department starts preparations for a full-scale Broadway musical with a live students orchestra. It is also very popular, with an average attendance of 5000 patrons in 6 shows.
Every three years Mr. Spencer travels internationally with his choirs where he has conducted in world class venues in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England, France, Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, Greece and Costa Rica. In June 2017, they will perform in Rome, Florence and Venice.
In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Mr. Spencer is a 10-year board member of the California Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association, where he has served as the Northern California Regional Representative, High School Repertoire and Standards Chair and his current position as Men’s Choir Repertoire and Standards Chair. He is also a highly respected adjudicator and clinician throughout California.