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Porter, Thomas J.

A native of North Dakota, Tom Porter is a Professor of Music and Chair of the Department of Music at the University of Mary where he teaches music theory and sacred music, and directs the choirs. In addition, he directs the Bismarck-Mandan Civic Chorus and the Dakota Chamber Chorale. Since 1986, GIA has published Tom’s music, including "Let Us Be Bread," "We Remember, We Believe," and the wedding song and recording, “By My Side.”


Tom enjoys the collaborative process of creating music for individual parishes and special occasions. He served as  a composer-in-residence for Saint Paul Catholic Church and Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Saint Cloud, Minnesota, through the Faith Partners program of the American Composers Forum.


His life-long experiences in a rural diocese and twelve years as the Director of the Office of Worship for the Diocese of Bismarck provide Tom with insights into the blessings and challenges of small parishes. For the past fifteen years he has directed school, church, university, diocesan, and honor choirs throughout the Midwest. He presents conducting and liturgical workshops at local parishes as well as state, regional, and national conferences.


Tom Porter earned a Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting from the Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and holds degrees from the University of Notre Dame (MA Theology), DePaul University, and the University of Mary.


Contact information:

Tom Porter

[email protected]




Small in Number, Large in Faith - Sacred Music

How do we, in smaller settings, live out the traditions and the rituals of the Church? This workshop focuses on the role of the musician to enable prayerful liturgical music in parishes with small congregations or limited resources.

Volunteer Singers and Vocal Development - Sacred Music

Singing well is an art, and we need to practice good technique in order to attain good technique. This workshop focuses on practical, hands-on ways for volunteer singers to be aware of the needs of their voice, and positive ways their voice can develop as they serve as ministers of music in their community.

Please God, Just One Tenor - Sacred Music

This was my prayer every Sunday as I drove to conduct my church choir. But when the tenor didn't show, I learned to adapt music and voices for a successful, prayerful performance. This workshop examines practical ways choir directors can select and adapt music to fit the needs of their choir and the needs of their assembly.

Oil Can - Sacred Music

How many times do we as church choir conductors leave rehearsal or liturgy feeling like the rusted Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz? This workshop provides practical tips for the conductor, a "tune-up" of sorts, on relaxation, posture, stretching, and conducting gestures for the church choir director.

Festival Choirs - Other

From diocesan choirs to special parish events to conferences, Tom Porter is available to conduct event choirs and workshop parish choirs. He has directed music and worship events and festival choirs at local, state, and regional conferences as well as honor choirs from middle school through adult.