Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award 2009-2010
Cara Tasher, Director of Choral Activities and Associate professor of Voice has an exhausting biography, a tribute to her boundless energy and commitment to her pursuit of excellence in music. She has taken UNF choirs twice on international performance tours to Portugal with partial TLO funding and fundraising and to Italy recently with community support and intense fundraising. The choir is now preparing its May 2012 South Africa Tour.
In addition to singing professionally, she recently has conducted Mexico City's professional opera company Opera de Bellas Artes, Hong Kong's 2010 Summer Music Festival, and for the previous 5 years directed Portugal's premier choral music education initiative and spearheaded the country's Graduate program in Conducting. In the U.S., she conducted the top high school choral and orchestral students in the Florida All-State and she has upcoming engagements in Nevada, New York and Tennessee.
Repertoire diversity is a hallmark of Tasher's encouragement of cultural awareness in her students. In addition to performing up to two major choral-orchestral masterworks per year, this year's senior class will have sung works in English, Latin, Spanish, Italian, German, French, Mandarin, Cantonese, Creole, Taiwanese, Japanese, Swedish, Finnish, Church Slavonic, Lithuanian, Latvian, Estonian, Museke, Bantu, Swahili, Portuguese (European and Brazilian), to list a few. Last year the UNF Chorale performed "Star Wars in Concert" with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra as well as at the Jaguars game. In addition to facilitating life- changing opportunities for UNF ensembles, she creates opportunities for individual students to assist her in international festivals, perform leading roles internationally with professional orchestras, and attend national and international music conferences.
She has created many "firsts" for Jacksonville and UNF, premiering the monumental Monteverdi Vespers of 1610 in Jacksonville, conducting Handel's Messiah with all-UNF chorus, soloists and orchestra, and beginning the annual UNF Feast of Carols that has attracted well over 5,000 people onto campus. In addition to providing extensive leadership opportunities in the four official choral ensembles, she advises a student-led a cappella ensemble, provides conducting lessons to assistant conductors and her applied voice students at UNF are continuing to win competitions. The newly created Men's and Women's choruses currently provide conducting opportunities to undergraduate students, a rarity in the United States, and yet another draw to our school. Tasher facilitates local and national musical employment for the students as administrators, soloists, private teachers and conductors. It has been stated that alongside her strong colleagues at UNF, Cara Tasher is changing Jacksonville's cultural climate.