David M. Thomas – Music Director
David M. Thomas moved to Portland after finishing his doctor of musical arts degree in choral conducting at Rimksy-Korsakov Conservatoire in St. Petersburg, Russia. Dr. Thomas (baritone) excels as a choral musician through his unwavering commitment to healthy vocal production in the choir. He attributes much of his success as a teacher and conductor to his years of study and performance with Dr. Ronald Staheli. Dr. Thomas holds additional degrees in Russian language and vocal performance.
Dr. Thomas’ interest in Russian music emerged from his two-year service (1996-1998) as a Russian speaking missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Estonia, Lithuania, and Belarus. He has continually integrated Russian music in his research and performance, most recently presenting scholarly work at the American Choral Directors’ Association national convention in Miami, Florida. Currently Corporate Training Manager for Graphic Products, Dr. Thomas has previously served as Artistic Director of Portland Choirs and Co-Director of Hoffman Academy of Music. He and his wife Emily (Soprano) enjoy performing together and operating Studio Thomas: Music Performance Instruction , as well as loving the wonders of life with their three girls and one boy.
Joseph Hoffman began playing the piano at age 6. In high school, he studied with Alfred Mouledous, principal pianist for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Then, as a music major at Brigham Young University, Joseph discovered a love and passion for teaching music to others. During his years as a student there, he grew his own piano studio to over 40 students. He also was appointed chorusmaster and conductor for numerous BYU opera productions, including Carmen and Pirates of Penzance. He conducted the 300-voice University Chorale and taught courses for music majors in music theory, conducting, and sightsinging. After graduating with a Master of Music degree in Conducting (2005), Mr. Hoffman was appointed as part-time faculty in BYU’s School of Music.
In 2007, Joseph decided to pursue a lifelong dream and moved to Portland with his wife and two boys to start a music academy. Hoffman Academy of Music has experienced remarkable growth in just a few years, and now serves nearly 200 students with a faculty of 10 teachers. To help create a new generation of excellent musicians, Joseph Hoffman has developed a creative and effective method for teaching piano, incorporating learning to play by ear and by sight, fluency in note and rhythm reading, improvisation, and a deep understanding of music theory, using fun, child-friendly teaching tools. As his method gains recognition, Joseph is now regularly invited by teachers in the Portland area to provide training in the “Hoffman Method”. His most recent project is to share the Hoffman Method with the world for free by creating a series of video lessons and posting them on his website FreePianoLessons4Kids.com.
Joseph Hoffman is also active as a composer and arranger, and his original works have been heard in many performance halls, including venues such as the BYU Marriot Center and the LDS Conference Center. Joseph has enjoyed singing in choirs since elementary school, and following years of private study with one of Utah’s premiere voice teachers, Betty Jeanne Chipman, Joseph co-authored a book about teaching voice with Mrs. Chipman: Singing with Mind, Body and Soul (Wheatmark Press).
When Joseph isn’t making music or teaching music, he’s probably either enjoying being chased around by his two active boys, watercoloring, or enjoying a good book with his wife.
Rob Archibald – Founder; Orchestra Assistant Conductor
Rob Archibald is the founder of the Portland Ensign Choir & Orchestra and served as music director during the organization’s first years. More recently, Mr. Archibald founded the Westside Community & Youth Orchestra where he still serves as a conductor, percussionist and oboist with the orchestra. He received his Masters in Conducting with emphasis in both choral and orchestral conducting from Portland State University in 2010. Mr. Archibald is an avid student of conducting and has traveled to various parts of the U.S. and Canada to work with Craig Jessop (Mormon Tabernacle Choir), Dumitru Goia (Moldova National Opera and Ballet Theater), Jon Washburn (Vancouver [B.C.] Chamber Choir), Anton Armstrong (St. Olaf College) and others. He is currently a conducting student of Gregory Vajda of the Oregon Symphony. Mr. Archibald works as a software engineer at Intel and resides in Hillsboro with his wife Jacki and their 5 boys.