NORMAN — On Sunday, Tony Gonzalez will take his final bow as director at Norman North High School’s annual Mostly Mozart concert and will retire after 28 years of teaching vocal music in Norman.
Gonzalez said he knew he wanted to teach music on his first day of junior high school when he began singing with his school choir.
“It was a moment that resonated in my soul and I knew. I just knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life being part of music and the choir,” Gonzalez said.
After graduating high school in Brownsville, Texas, Gonzalez earned a bachelor’s in music education from Texas A&I and a master’s in music education from the University of Oklahoma. He said when he came to Norman, he knew it was a place he wanted to teach.
“When I came to Norman as a graduate student, I just loved the town. It was so different from where I grew up. There was a cultural influence here that I loved,” Gonzalez said.
After completing his graduate work, a position opened at Central Mid-High (later, Longfellow Middle School) and Gonzalez took the job.
When Norman North High School opened in 1997, Gonzalez was hired as director of vocal music and went on to have a successful career, directing award-winning choirs that performed at state and national conventions.
Reflecting on the end of his teaching career, Gonzalez said he was fortunate to teach music in Norman because he felt that the city always supported the arts more so than many other communities.
His students, both former and current, sing their praises for their beloved choral director.
“This is definitely not your average high school program, and most of us probably didn’t even realize how lucky we were to be able to study with him,” said Brooke Geisler, a former student of Gonzalez.