Recently, the Missouri Arts Council chose Jeff Sandquist as the Arts Education honoree of the 2018 Missouri Arts Awards, the state’s highest honor in the arts.

Jeff Sandquist is clearly the director. His close-cropped graying hair hints as much, along with hand signals and arm movements that serve as a conductor’s baton, as he gives direction that only a teacher chalking up decades of rehearsals can give. In a patient, measured tone, he explains what is wrong with the vocals in particular measures, those sections printed in sheet music that help musicians and vocalists find a particular place within the music. The choir listens.

“At the top of page 4 is a “doo”—the bottom of page three in the last few measures is an “ahh,” he explains to the Rolla Community Choir, in a last minute rehearsal for “Wintertide,” the annual Christmas concert, presented by the Rolla Choral Arts Society.
“At the top of page five is an “ahh”—that little arpeggiated thing,” he continued.

He’s just doing what probably comes naturally. Teaching vocal music effectively can probably be a demanding, time-tenured  process and the good ones make it look easy. It’s hard to say how many lives—young and old— he has influenced over the decades to open up the possibilities of discovery, to help vocalists build confidence and maybe create little Jeff Sandquist’s, who go on to educate and share the beauty and force of music with the world. He’s made his mark and now, he will be recognized for it.
Recently, the Missouri Arts Council has chosen Jeff as the Arts Education honoree of the 2018 Missouri Arts Awards, the state’s highest honor in the arts.

Jeff’s life has revolved around music and he wants to share that in a way with any student willing to work until they can lend their own special, solitary voice to the whole, to produce musical magic that bends human emotion and takes its listeners on a journey.

His accolades are many. He has been a force for the arts in Rolla and across the state since 1983 as a classroom music teacher, choral director, program designer, policy developer and advocate.

Since his retirement from Rolla Public Schools in 2014, he’s been busy. He is a long-time music director for the Presbyterian Church, artistic and executive director of the Rolla Choral Arts Society and he teaches on the faculty of the University of Missouri-Columbia.
His enthusiasm and unbridled energy doesn’t end there. He’s been active with the Missouri Alliance for Arts Education since 2000 and has served as chairman since 2012. He also served with the Missouri Music Educators Association, Missouri Choral Directors Association and the American Choral Directors Association. He will be honored at a public ceremony on February 7, in the Capitol Rotunda in Jefferson City.

Since founding the Missouri Arts Awards in 1983, the Missouri Arts Council and the State of Missouri have honored 207 people, organizations, and communities. Honorees are recognized for their profound and lasting contributions to the artistic and cultural legacy of Missouri in the categories of Arts Education, Arts Organization, Creative Community, Individual Artist, Leadership in the Arts, and Philanthropy. Awards recipients are selected from public nominations by an independent panel representing the arts community throughout the state.