Dr. Thomas Ediger, professor of music and director of choral activities at Peru State College, passed away Aug. 20, 2014.

Dr. Ediger was born on May 8, 1950, in York, Nebraska, the son of Milford L. Ediger and LaVon Holmes. He grew up in Aurora, Nebraska, where he earned the Eagle Scout rank with the Boy Scouts of America and graduated from Aurora High School.

Dr. Ediger earned a Bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Nebraska and a Master's degree in piano performance and doctorate in theory and composition from the University of Northern Colorado. Dr. Ediger also completed postgraduate work at Portland State University, Yale University and in Graz, Austria. He held the permanent national teacher certification in piano and theory through the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA).

Dr. Ediger joined the Peru State faculty in 1979 where he served as director of the Concert Choir and Madrigal Singers and taught courses in music theory, music history, music education and piano. He was an active performer, composer, and a popular piano and vocal clinician/adjudicator in the region. His most recent compositions were The Land of Oops, a chamber opera for the Madrigal Singers, and Psalm 121 for choir published by Concordia Press. His piano and composition students have often won state and regional competitions.

Dr. Ediger founded Peru State’s Piano Extravaganza in 1990, an annual event that brings more than 200 pianists to campus for day-long rehearsals and a final performance where, under his direction, 30 pianists simultaneously play 15 pianos. He coordinated the college’s annual High School Show Choir Festival and annual Choral Festival Honor Choir. Dr. Ediger was also director and producer of the college’s annual Holiday Madrigal Dinner.

In addition to his teaching duties at the college, Dr. Ediger served as treasurer of Nebraska Music Teachers Association, having previously led the organization as president. He was honored by the Association in 2008 as their Distinguished Teacher of the Year and Service Award Winner.

In March 2009, Dr. Ediger was awarded the MTNA Foundation Fellow Award in recognition of his service and leadership. He served as director of the MTNA West Central Division and as a member of the Board of Directors. He was on the MTNA Foundation Fund’s national development committee.

It is rare that one individual has so much impact on a campus culture. A three-time winner of the Peru State Teacher Excellence Award, Dr. Ediger was long a master of student engagement. His tireless efforts have been widely recognized throughout southeast Nebraska and the region. Dr. Ediger, his students and their performances have given the campus a treasured sense of heart and soul. He positively influenced the lives of thousands of students throughout his tenure at the college. He was an accomplished musician whose talent, kindness, and commitment to the institution and students was an inspiration. He will be greatly missed.

A memorial service will be held on the Peru State campus at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 2 in the College Theatre. The public is invited to attend. Memorials can be directed to the Peru State College Foundation Choral Fund and the Nebraska Music Teachers Association.