Richard Victor Romero, Sr.
Richard Romero, singer and choral director, has been an active musician for most of his life. He has been a teacher, conductor, performer, and in running media production companies.
Romero was born in Tempe, Arizona, one of four sons of Gabe and Juanita Romero, and grew up in nearby Phoenix. He started piano study at age nine and at age twelve began trumpet lessons and singing in the Phoenix Seventh-day Adventist church choir.
During his four years at Thunderbird Academy, now Thunderbird Adventist Academy, in nearby Scottsdale, Arizona, he continued study on trumpet and in his first year started conducting lessons with music teacher Roger Peden. Encouraged and inspired by academy piano teacher Virginia Robinson Wilson, he enrolled at Loma Linda University, now La Sierra University, one year after he graduated from TA in 1969.
In 1968, Romero had read Herbert Ford's book Crimson Coats and Kimonos about Francisco de Araujo's work and travels with the Choral Arts Society at Japan Missionary College. He then met Araujo in Takoma Park, Maryland, and sang in his newly formed National Adventist Choral Society.
Encouraged by Araujo to continue his conducting studies, Romero returned to California to begin majoring in music at LLU, studying choral conducting with Bjorn Keyn. Although he transferred to Arizona State University at the end of his freshman year, he still continued to study conducting with Keyn, commuting to Southern California while studying at ASU. He also participated in the first orchestra-conducting workshop conducted at LLU by noted conductor Herbert Blomstedt in 1971.
In his three years of study at ASU, Romero organized and conducted the Tempe Community Singers, a community chorus. In 1974, just before beginning his senior year at ASU, he was invited to be choir conductor at the University of Montemorelos in Mexico. Thinking this was an opportunity for him to repeat what had happened with Araujo in Japan, he accepted the invitation.
Romero enjoyed unusual success with the choir in what would prove to be a one-year appointment. Under his direction, the choir performed two concerts featuring the Faure Requiem and the Messiah (in Spanish) in Mexico City at the Palacio de Bella Artes, a prestigious musical venue in Mexico. The students, realizing the importance of this concert, spent hours of personal time preparing for it, foregoing half of their Christmas break and all of their spring break for extra rehearsals.
When they finished singing "And the Glory of the Lord " in their first rehearsal with the Mexico City Chamber Orchestra, the ensemble was so moved it stood and applauded. A music critic from El Sol favorably reviewed the nationally televised concert, which was directed by Romero.
He returned to Phoenix at the end of that year and in the years since has conducted choirs at Adventist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, and Catholic churches. In 1983, he founded and conducted the Arizona Choral Arts Society and for the next nine years presented major choral concerts at Phoenix's historic St. Mary's Basilica.
In those years, the ACAS commissioned two works, The Prophet and Tito’s Say, written by Arizona composer James DeMars. The concerts and commissions were underwritten in part by several corporate organizations and foundations, including the Arizona Cultural Commission, Phoenix Arts Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Meet the Composer Foundation.
In the 1980s, Romero took several summer classes at Westminster Choir College in New Jersey, where he studied choral conducting with Joseph Flummerfelt, Robert Shaw, and David Willcocks and sang bass in the Westminster Choir Workshop Chorale. This group, conducted by world famous conductors Shaw and Willcocks, gave several major performances at Lincoln Center in New York City. He also founded the Scottsdale Music Association in1987.
Earlier, in 1977, he had created and started RVR, a production company. For over 28 years, he has written and directed numerous media productions for major organizations, including Fortune 500 Companies, orchestras, and educational and governmental agencies.
In 1998 Romero and his sons started Finis Productions, Inc., another media production company. In his role as Executive Producer, he works with his sons to provide creative and technical services in all areas of media production, doing so at a reasonable cost while upholding high standards. Additionally, their company focuses on producing original media that will educate and have a positive effect on communities.
Sources: Information provided by Richard Romero, Sr., July-September 2008.