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Michael Burch-Pesses also serves as the conductor and musical director of the Oregon Symphonic Band.

Michael Burch-Pesses.The director of bands at Pacific University is one of the most accomplished music teachers in the state, as recognized the Oregon Music Education Association this month.

Michael Burch-Pesses is this year's recipient of the John C. McManus Distinguished Teacher Award. He is the first Pacific educator to be honored with one of the association's annual awards.

The award recognizes lifetime achievement by Oregon teachers involved in music education. It is named in honor of its inaugural holder, the late University of Oregon professor John C. McManus, who was honored by the Oregon Music Education Association in 2000.

Burch-Pesses is perhaps best known in the Oregon music community as the conductor and musical director of the Oregon Symphonic Band. He conducts several musical groups at Pacific as well, including the symphonic and jazz bands and the wind ensemble. He also teaches courses in the university's music department and coordinates its annual Music in May festival, set to celebrate its 70th anniversary this spring.

Burch-Pesses described receiving the McManus Distinguished Teacher Award in a Pacific news release as "a true honor."

"The Distinguished Teacher Award is the highest award given by the Oregon Music Education Association," Burch-Pesses said.

The ceremony at which Burch-Pesses received the award was attended by about 1,000 music teachers and students, according to the news release.

This is Burch-Pesses' first time being honored by the Oregon Music Education Association, but it's not the first award he has received. In 2006, he received Pacific's S.S. Johnson Foundation Award for Excellence in Teaching. Last year, he was honored as Pacific's Distinguished University Professor.

Burch-Pesses has been on the faculty at Pacific since 1995. He previously served as a bandmaster in the U.S. Navy, at one point heading the Navy Music Program.


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