Bismarck State College professor nominated for Grammy

Local News

Jason Thoms has music in his blood.

“Actually a fifth-generation professional musician in my family, so it’s pretty much what we have to do,” Thoms joked.

He’s been the director of choral activities at Bismarck State College for the last year and a half.

Before that, he spent 13 years in a similar role at Concordia College in New York City.

Now, he’s up for his second Grammy nomination as a featured soloist in the Saint Tikhon Choir, a Pennsylvania group based out of an orthodox seminary.

“The most recent recording is called the ‘Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom’ and I’m actually singing the role of the Deacon who would be in the worship service,” Thoms said.

His first Grammy nomination was with the same choir where he was one of 200 people. This time as a soloist, his name is on the nomination.

“Reaching the level of being nominated for a Grammy is pretty high up there, so it feels good. Made me a little emotional even to see that happen.”

In addition to 15 years of teaching and two Grammy nods, Thoms has conducted choral ensembles in 49 states, two Canadian provinces, Germany and Italy.

Students say his experience elevates their experience in class.

“You don’t get that sort of experience, those ideas or guidance from anybody else who is native to North Dakota so it’s nice getting someone like him to step into that role,” Sophomore Music Education Major Ethan Pederson said.

“His focus is always on making the most of what we kind of like excel in as a group instead of comparing ourselves to other groups, and just having fun really,” Freshman Chemistry Major Autumn Dodd said.

Whether the Grammys are in-person or virtual this year is still in the air due to the pandemic.

But Thoms says he’s grateful to be nominated.

“I think anyone who’s nominated for a Grammy feels like anything after that is just luck or icing on the cake,” Thoms said.

Thoms says there’s a possibility he could be part of another Grammy nomination next year with a CD just recorded this past summer.

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