Michael Dye will be inducted into the Florida Vocal Association Hall of Fame on Friday, July 27, during the FVA Summer Conference. He will soon begin his 29th year as choral director at Niceville High School (Okaloosa County). The coming year will mark Mike’s 43rd year as a choral music educator.
A native of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Mike received the Bachelor of Music Education Degree from Henderson State University – Arkadelphia (1976) and the Master of Music Education Degree from Arkansas State University – Jonesboro (1990). He also did graduate studies at the University of Arkansas – Fayetteville. While at ASU, Mike was the graduate assistant to Alfred Skoog, charter member of the ACDA, and also studied with composer Jared Spears. Mike taught applied voice and was afforded the opportunity to conduct the university choirs with at Arkansas State.
Mike began his teaching career at Southwest Junior High School in Hot Springs, AR where he conducted several choral ensembles and a hand bell choir. One year later he accepted the choir director’s position at the high school from which he graduated, Dollarway High School, in Pine Bluff. He served at Dollarway for 12 years where he also conducted the select mixed 9th grade chorus and 7th grade boys choir at the junior high school for most of his time in the district. During his last year in Pine Bluff, Mike served as the district’s music resource teacher while continuing to conduct the high school choirs.
While teaching in Arkansas, Mike was elected the state president of the secondary school’s interscholastic choral association, the Arkansas Choral Directors Association (ArkCDA, 1986-1988). He also served as president of the Arkansas Chapter of the ACDA (1988-1990). Dye was twice elected as the ArkCDA Southeast Region Chair and was appointed to a two-year term to organize and run the State Choral Festival. In 1989 Mike was chosen as the ArkCDA’s Senior High Director of the Year.
In 1990, Mike was hired as the choral director at Niceville High School, FL after FVA Hall of Fame director Phyllis Merritt retired from that position. He was selected as Niceville High School’s Teacher of the Year, and runner-up for the Okaloosa County Teacher of the year, in 2004.
Mike is a 29-year member of the Florida Vocal Association where he has served as president (2007-2009), and twice as the District 1 chair (1993-1995/2003-2005). While FVA president, he served on the board of the Florida Music Education Association. He served as the All-State (2003-2005) and State MPA Chair (2005-2007). Mike is currently the FVA chair for the Past-President’s Committee and also represents the Florida School Music Association (FSMA) on the board. He has been the rehearsal coordinator for all four of the senior high all-state choruses. Mike finished a two-year term as president of the FSMA last month and will serve one more year on the FSMA board as the past-president.
In 2013, he conducted the Florida All-State Men’s Chorus and in 2017 he was chosen to direct the Arkansas All-State Female Chorus as the ArkCDA celebrated its 50th year with an all-Arkansas lineup of all-state conductors. Under his direction Niceville choruses have earned 15 FVA State MPA “Choirs of Distinction”. During the 2016-2017 season, Mike conducted the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra Chorale.
Mike, an active clinician and adjudicator, is a member of the American Choral Directors Association, the Florida Music Education Association, and the National Association for Music Education. His Niceville Singers have performed in the Czech Republic, Austria, Germany (Brucknerhaus, Linz), France, Scotland, Wales, Ireland (St. Patrick’s, Dublin), England (Coventry Cathedral for the 2002 International Church Music Conference), Italy (San Marco Basilica, Venice), Spain (Church of San Salvador – Pablo Casal’s childhood church in El Vendrell), and in Beijing and Xian, China. The Singers have also sung in Carnegie Hall three times.
Mike is married to Wanda Thomas Dye. They have two sons, Matthew Norton (Naomi – Lauren, Graham, Wesley) of Pensacola, and Timothy Norton (Kendra) of Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Mike has requested that “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” (arr. Mack Wilberg) be sung in his honor at the FVA Awards Ceremony on Friday, July 27. The piece will be conducted by friend and colleague, Caroline Buechner (Navarre High School).