Governor’s Arts Award for Terry Shaw

by Molly Gilmore for OLY ARTS

Terry Shaw

Choir director, composer, and teacher Terry Shaw has won a Governor’s Arts Award, to be presented Nov. 14. Shaw was named a Young Arts Leader, an award that recognizes his contributions to the arts and impact on the community.

Shaw, who teaches wrestling and choral music at Timberline High School and is music director at St. Mark Lutheran Church in Lacey, is well known as the director of the Olympia Choral Society, which offers its concerts by donation and gives proceeds to local nonprofits. Shaw also serves as the head football coach at Rainier High School.

He’s also the creator of the musical “Tents,” which tells the stories of a group of homeless people. Shaw volunteered at local homeless camps and shelters and began writing songs inspired by the people he met there and by homeless students. His production company, Virtuoso Arts, produced the show in 2016 at Panorama and this year at Timberline.

“It’s such a wonderful description of homelessness, and I think of it all the time,” said Jane Barry of Lacey, who helped to fund the production and nominated Shaw for the award. Barry sang with Shaw at Westminster Presbyterian Church, where he was music director from 2004 to 2015. “I recognized right away what an incredible musician he is — and such an inspirational person,” she said. “He’s very talented and very involved in giving in selfless ways.”

Shaw is well known for his musical leadership of the Olympia Choral Society, which has given more than 150 concerts. Shaw founded the Society in 1998, when he was in his senior year at Pacific Lutheran University. The Society’s holiday concert, which will benefit the North Thurston Education Foundation, will be its last for now.

(The final Olympia Choral Society concert is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8 and 9 and 2:30 p.m. Dec. 9 and 10 at the Koval Center at North Thurston High School, 600 Sleater Kinney Road NE, Lacey.)

“We’re going to put [Olympia Choral Society] on the shelf till I’m ready to pick it up again,” he said. “I want to write more music.”


What: Governor’s Arts & Heritage Awards dinner

Where: 6-9 p.m. Nov. 14

When: Museum of Glass,

1801 Dock St., Tacoma

How much: $40

Get tickets:

Learn more:  Governor’s Arts & Heritage Awards