James Henry (pictured), director of choral studies at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, is a recipient of the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education. He received the award in February during a luncheon at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo.

“I am honored and humbled by this award. I’m also grateful to Stella Markou (director of vocal studies at UMSL) for nominating me and to the committee for choosing me as the recipient,” Henry said. “I feel blessed to be recognized in this way for something that I love doing so much. Many thanks especially to my students for making every day so fun and rewarding.”

The award is given to faculty members at Missouri’s public four-year colleges and universities for their excellence in challenging and motivating Missouri students to reach their maximum potential.

Henry conducts the University Singers and Vocal Point, two choral ensembles based in the Department of Music at UMSL. He teaches choral methods, choral arranging and choral conducting.

In addition to his duties at UMSL, Henry is the musical and artistic director of Ambassadors of Harmony, a 160-voice men’s a cappella chorus. He also sings bass with and arranges for the vocal quartet Crossroads.

Last year, Henry became the first person to ever take the gold as a director of a chorus (Ambassadors of Harmony) and a member of a quartet (Crossroads) during the Barbershop Harmony Society 2009 International Barbershop Chorus Competition in Anaheim, Calif.

In 2008, he was elected into the BHS Hall of Fame as a member of the Gas House Gang, a quartet that performed for more than 18 years throughout the world.

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Ryan Heinz

Ryan Heinz

Eye on UMSL: Tending the gardens

Biology student James Ott and Sustainable Energy & Environmental Coordinator Katy Mike Smaistrla pull weeds last week in the native gardens north of the Recreation Wellness Center.