Roger Tenney

1991 F. Melius Christiansen Lifetime Achievement Award
Roger Tenney

Roger Tenney graduated from St. Olaf College where he studied with F. Melius and Olaf Christiansen. He began his conducting career at the age of 15 in churches and continued later in the army. His public school teaching career started in Mountain Lake, MN and has continued in Owatonna, MN for the past thirty one years.

Tenney completed his work for a Master's in Music from the University of Colorado in 1960, the same year he became a member of ACDA. As an active life member he is the only person to serve twice as state president (1966-68; 1985-85). Among other distinctions received by Roger Tenney are the state and national teacher of the year in 1966-67; Minnesota State Jaycees "Outstanding Young Educator", 1976-68; The School Musician "Ten Most Outstanding Musicians in America", 1966-67; MMEA "Choral Educator of the Year", 1989; and director of sixteen All-State choirs throughout the United States.

Arriving in Owatonna during the fall of 1960, Tenney soon built the choir program so that in 1962 the Owatonna H. S. Concert Choir represented the state of Minnesota at the Seattle World's Fair. By 1967, the program had grown to six choirs, and the Concert Choir appeared at the White House to sing for President Lyndon Johnson and Vice-President Hubert Humphrey during Tenney's acceptance of the "National Teacher of the Year" award. Other honors include performances at MMEA eight times; at ACDA state, divisional, and national conventions; many choral festivals; the grand opening of the Ordway Theater in St. Paul; and during the 100th anniversary season of Carnegie Hall in New York City.

The greater Owatonna community has seen Roger direct church choirs, high school choirs, a semi-professional choir, the Roger Tenney Chorale, community choirs, and summer music programs. In addition to teaching music education classes at St. Olaf College, he has completed all course work for a D.M.A. at the University of Illinois.