Recently retired choral music teacher from Irvine High honored by Pacific Chorale


Richard Messenger, the longtime choral music teacher at Irvine High School who recently retired after 40 years as an educator, has been awarded the John Alexander Outstanding Choral Educator Award for his contributions to the community, according to a news release from Pacific Chorale.

Messenger is the first-ever recipient of the award, which was presented in May by Pacific Chorale Artistic Director John Alexander and Chairman Emeritus and Vice-chairman of Education Mary Lyons. He’ll be recognized again – this time on the stage – at Pacific Chorale’s Choral Festival at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall on Aug. 15.

Over the course of his illustrious career, Messenger has been named IUSD’s High School Teacher of the Year and Arts Educator of the Year by the Orange County Music and Arts Administrators, and in 2009 he won the Irene Schoepfle Award for Distinguished Contributions to Orange County Music Education. He began Irvine High’s choral music program back in 1977 and was assistant conductor of the Pacific Chorale from 1983 to 1997.   

Messenger’s latest accolade, which includes a  $1,000 honorarium, bears the name of the renowned John Alexander, who has been artistic director of Pacific Chorale since 1972. Per Messenger’s request, the monetary award will be “applied toward a commission from renowned choral composer John Rutter, in which Irvine High School is participating with a consortium of choruses through the auspices of Chorus America, the national service organization for choral music,” according to the news release.