“Receiving an award like this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Seeley said. “I’m thrilled to see choral music recognized alongside other arts.”
Seeley has devoted more than thirty years to music education and direction in Portland and is one of the longest serving choral directors in the United States. Seeley joined the Lewis & Clark music department faculty in 1975. In addition to conducting the college choir, he teaches a range of courses, including music history, world music, contemporary music and conducting.
“Music may be the most intangible of the arts, but in my years at Lewis & Clark, I’ve enjoyed teaching my students about what an exciting and uniquely challenging study it can be,” Seeley said.
Director of the Oregon Repertory Singers since 1976, Seeley has shaped the style and vision of the internationally renowned adult choir. The Portland-based choral group has toured Europe and released several CDs, gaining critical acclaim and public popularity under Seeley’s leadership. Bruce Gulliver, a member of the Oregon Repertory Singers Board of Directors, introduced Seeley at the awards ceremony. He highlighted Seeley’s commitment to music education and passion for a variety of music, which leads to versatile programs, including everything from medieval chant to gospel to a range of contemporary styles.
“During the past 32 years, Gil has brought his immense knowledge of repertoire and love of finding choral treasures, new and old, into building the group’s local, national and international reputation,” Gulliver said. “He is the repertory in the Oregon Repertory Singers.”
Since 1977, the Governor’s Arts Awards program has annually awarded individuals in diverse artistic disciplines based on their achievements and contributions to cultural life in Oregon. The field of this year’s recipients included three artists, two arts advocates, a television show and architecture firm.
“As someone who has spent his entire career in the arts in Portland, it was wonderful to meet the other honorees and hear what they are doing to advance Oregon arts,” Seeley said. “It’s great to see that the state is invested in supporting the artistic community.”
This year’s ceremony commemorated the 40th anniversary of the Oregon Arts Commission, which provides leadership, funding and arts programs through grants, special initiatives and services.