The Daytona Beach Choral Society was organized in 1974 under the direction of Mr. David Mathews, who was the organist at Seabreeze United Church. Mr. Mathews envisioned a community chorus for Daytona Beach, and through his efforts an organization known as "The Civic Chorus" was born. After passing through a "light music" phase, Mr. Mathews was convinced that the chorus was capable of performing classical works. The name was changed to "Oratorio Chorus".
In the summer of 1977, Dorothea Waddel Tonnesen from the Huntington New York school system became Director. She brought with her a passion to perform a variety of great works. Under her direction, the group prepared requiem masses by Haydn, Verdi, Cherubini, Beethoven, and Mozart. Semi-classical music included works from major Broadway musicals. The group incorporated in 1979 under the name of "Daytona Beach Choral Society.
Tawn B. Thomas was born on September 12, 1975 in Jacksonville, Florida and now resides in Palm Coast, Florida. He received his Bachelors of Arts degree in Music Education at Bethune-Cookman University. His research thesis, A Study of Historical Style and Its Effect on the Interpretation of Choral Music, was published in the 1998 Bethune-Cookman College Undergraduate Research Journal (Volume 3). Mr. Thomas received his Masters of Music Education degree in Choral Music Education from Florida State University, where he studied choral conducting under the direction of Rodney Eichenberger. Mr. Thomas has taught in Florida’s public school system for twelve years and is currently in his eleventh year as an elementary Music teacher. In January of 2010, he began serving as an assistant choral director with the Bethune-Cookman University Concert Chorale and served as its Interim Director of Choral Activities from August of 2011 to November of 2012. As a high school choral director, his choirs consistently received superior ratings at district and state choral festivals. They were also invited to represent the State of Florida in Washington at the 2003 American Music Salute and were invited to perform with the Florida Youth Chorale at Carnegie Hall. He served as a church choir director for the First United Methodist Church of Bunnell, FL. from April of 2008 until April of 2009. Currently, Mr. Thomas serves as the conductor of the Daytona Beach Chorale Society. He has been an active member of several music organizations; including, The Florida Vocal Association, Florida Elementary Music Educators Association, Florida Music Educators Association, American Choral Directors Association, and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. He is an active choral arranger, clinician, and adjudicator and holds several publications with Alliance Music Publisher Inc. He sang with the Bel Canto Singers Community Choir for three years under the direction of Judson Rogers. His arrangement of Get on Board Little Children was performed by the Bel Canto singers at the Salute to American Music festival in Austria and Prague, Czech Republic. In 2004 he served as chairman for the Volusia County All-County Festivals. Aside from teaching general music and choral music, he has served as a tutor and mentor for the Boys and Girls Club in Holly Hill, FL. Mr. Thomas is recognized and honored for his contributions as an educator in the 2004-2005, Ninth Edition of Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers, and was nominated to appear in the 2006-2007 addition, also. He earned his status as a National Board Certified Teacher in the area of Early Adolescent and Young Adult music in November of 2008. He is married to Mrs. Marsha G. Thomas and is the proud father of two.
Tim Murphy is well known to followers of the Daytona Beach Choral Society with whom he has been associated for many years as an associate accompanist and, since 1996, the principal accompanist. Mr. Murphy is a Nationally Certified Teacher of Piano and currently maintains a piano studio for forty students throughout the Volusia County area.