Growing up in Tucson, Arizona, I thought I wanted to be a stockbroker. To that end, I entered the University of Arizona as a business/economics major. Boy, did I have a wrong number!
Since I had been involved in music for as long as I could remember (I led singing in church when I was eight years old), I enrolled in Chamber Choir at the U of A. I looked at music as my avocation, never as a career possibility. Then I had the privilege of singing under the direction of John Bloom and my world changed forever. I continued my studies there with David Wilson, Jean Berger and Maurice Skones, and soon Wall Street was forgotten, as I became aware of the beauty, drama, emotion, and sensitivity of great choral music performance. I wanted to perform, and even more, I wanted to conduct. The attraction for taking great literature, interpreting and understanding it, bringing performers into the magic of it with me, and then giving it as a gift to an audience, has never wanted for me. When I discovered the satisfaction of awakening students to the joys of choral music, my life's work was determined.
I have served as Director of Choral Activities at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, since 1983 and Music Department Chair from 1994- 2001. It has been a great 27 years. In my highly prejudiced opinion, there simply isn't another profession with the variety of ways to practice your craft, and the remarkable and frequent opportunities to feed your soul. I am so fortunate to look back at recording CD's in France and performing in Carnegie Hall as a member of the Festival Singers of the great Robert Shaw, conducting the Willamette Singer's in the Imperial Hotel Ballroom in Tokyo, and singing with Male Ensemble Northwest for my colleagues at the American Choral Director's National Conference in Washington, D.C. I have conducted the all-state choir in Kansas and Wyoming and have had both my classical choral and vocal jazz groups invited to perform at national conferences in Boston, New Orleans, Chicago, and Indianapolis. My greatest personal satisfaction, however, still comes from seeing my student's faces, at that exact moment when they understand the meaning of the text and the beauty of the music, and it all comes together for them. There is nothing else quite like it and I wouldn't trade those moments for anything in the world.
Professor Wallace Long Jr., Director of Choral Activities; B.M., M.M., A. Mus. D., University of Arizona; taught choral music in Tucson, Arizona, before coming to Willamette; performed professionally with the Robert Shaw Festival Singers in France and Carnegie Hall and performs with Male Ensemble Northwest including compact disc recordings and an honorific performance at the American Choral Directors Association's National Conferences in Washington, D.C. and San Antonio, Texas; past president of the Oregon chapter of American Choral Directors Association; Guest Conductor, Kansas All-State Choir, Wyoming All-State Choir, Fairbanks Festival of the Arts, Northwest American Choral Directors Association Honor Chair.