Andrew T. Smigielski, composer
Andrew T. Smigielski, M.M., is in his eleventh year as Director of Choral Activities at Forrest County Agricultural High School in Brooklyn, MS. He earned his Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Music in Choral Conducting degrees from The University of Southern Mississippi. While at USM, he served the Choral Activities department as a Graduate Teaching Assistant. As such, he was the Assistant Conductor to the Concert Choir, University Singers, and Chamber Singers. He was also a Rehearsal Assistant to the Southern Chorale, the premiere ensemble of the University, and the 2011 Southern Invitational Choral Conference Honor Choir under the direction of Dr. Ronnie Oliver (from Manhattan Concert Productions). Smigielski has taken Doctoral level classes at Southern Miss under the tutelage of Dr. Gregory Fuller and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Arts degree in Music Education (Choral Conducting) at William Carey University.
Participation in FCAHS Choral Activities has grown significantly since Smigielski’s first year. Partially due to this success, he was named the Chairperson of the Fine Arts/Electives Department. His program is garnering recognition in the community, state, and recently, the nation as one of the up and coming choral programs in this region. During their successful performance tour of Washington D.C. Congressman Steven Palazzo was quoted as saying, “I didn’t even know FCAHS had a choir, but boy I sure know about it now!” The choir has given well received performances in venues such as: St. Patrick’s Cathedral and The United State Capitol Building (Washington D.C.). Choirs at FCAHS consistently earn Superior ratings at District, State, and Regional competitions and have earned “Best in Class” honors at the Riverland Choral Festival in Pearl, MS 3 out of the last 4 years in the ensemble division and 4 out of the last 5 years in the Women’s Choir Division. Last year his female a cappella group, Unaccompanied Minors, won “Best in Class” for the A Cappella Division and his Select Chorus took the Grand Championship in the Choir Division. In 2017, Smigielski was awarded the “Outstanding Young Music Educator of the Year” award by the Mississippi Music Educators Association (MMEA) in recognition of professional integrity, love of teaching, and creativity in working with students. Recently, Smigielski led the FCAHS Select Women’s Choir in a successful American Choral Director’s Association conference debut in the 2019 MMEA/ACDA State In-Service Conference (chosen by a blind national panel). They followed this significant achievement up by being selected for the 2019 for the ACDA state conference in Louisiana that fall. In Spring of 2020 Smigielski was selected as the STAR Teacher for FCAHS. Smigielski has also been Grammy nominated in 2022 and is a Legacy Nominee for the 2023 Grammy Music Educator Award.
In addition to his conducting/teaching accomplishments, Mr. Smigielski has enjoyed success as a baritone soloist. He has earned many vocal scholarships and awards including being chosen as an individual winner at the 2007 SICC Soloist Competition and the 2009 Regional Final of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. In the spring of 2012 Mr. Smigielski made his oratorio debut as a soloist in the B-minor Mass by Johann Sebastian Bach. He was invited in fall 2012 to sing the baritone solos in the Fauré Requiem with the Long Beach High School Concert Choir, one of the premiere choirs in the Southeast Region. Smigielski has also recently started writing and arranging music. His first publication (“Down to the River to Pray”) was released in 2020 by Colla Voce Music in the John Flanery Choral Series.
Mr. Smigielski is an active member of the American Choral Directors Association, the National Association for Music Education (formerly MENC), and the A Cappella Education Association. As such, he has presented interest sessions to the Louisiana and Mississippi chapters of ACDA on the benefits of contemporary a cappella ensembles in secondary choral music programs. Smigielski served as the Chairperson for District VIII of the Mississippi High School Activities Association and the MMEA from 2014-2016. Following his term as District Chair, he was elected Vice President of the High School Choral Division for the state through MMEA and served for one year.
Smigielski serves as pianist at First Baptist Church of McLaurin in Hattiesburg, MS. He also resides in Hattiesburg with his beautiful wife, Ashley, their sons, Caden and Ethan, two cats (Thor and Binx) and two birds (Rio and Daisy).