Jim Henry, director of choral studies at UMSL, leads the Ambassadors of Harmony at a performance at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center. Henry was selected by the International Leadership Network to receive the 2011 Dare to Lead Award.

Jim Henry first took the reins as director of the 160-voice Ambassadors of Harmony when he was 27. He’s since excelled at leading choruses big (Ambassadors), small (University of Missouri–St. Louis a cappella group Vocal Point) and in between. Now the UMSL director of choral studies is being recognized for his work as a leader.

Henry was selected by the nonprofit International Leadership Network to receive the 2011 Dare to Lead Award. He’ll receive the award May 6 at the Renaissance St. Louis Airport Hotel in Berkeley, Mo.

Based in Brentwood, Mo., the International Leadership Network annually gives the award to recognize adult leaders who have made significant contributions to help young people achieve. Past recipients have included former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner and his wife, Brenda; Millstone Construction Company founder I.E. Millstone; and the Danforth family.

Henry is the first performer to receive the award. He is being distinguished for his many leadership contributions of teaching and inspiring youths through his work at UMSL and with Ambassadors of Harmony. He often works with high school performance groups and also conducts all-district and all-state honors choirs composed of several schools’ top singers.

“Jim Henry has the highest level of what I perceive to be the two most important aspects of good teaching,” said Robert Nordman, chair of the Department of Music at UMSL. “He knows his content area; he knows it extremely well. And he cares about young people. His manner of teaching lets those students know that he truly cares about each one of them and their successes and achievements.”

At UMSL, Henry conducts two choral groups: University Singers and Vocal Point.

In addition to serving as the musical and artistic director of Ambassadors of Harmony, he sings bass for Crossroads. Both groups were named champions in their respective categories at the Barbershop Harmony Society’s 2009 International Barbershop Competition.

Henry is also in the Barbershop Harmony Hall of Fame as a member of the Gas House Gang. He sang bass in the quartet for 18 years, performing in all 50 U.S. states and 50 countries at venues ranging from the Grand Ole Opry to Carnegie Hall.

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Ryan Heinz

Ryan Heinz

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