Music professor brings experiences from stage to classroom


Courtesy of Omari Tau

Music Professor Omari Tau. Tau went on tour with Disney’s “The Lion King” for nearly nine years and is now a music professor at CRC.

From performing on the national tour for Disney’s “The Lion King” to teaching music at Cosumnes River College, Music Professor Omari Tau’s career shows his versatility as an artist.
Tau first wanted to become a journalist, but his passion for music began to grow in high school when one of his friends told him to join the choir class.
“I found that I really enjoyed it and really liked doing it,” Tau said. “It turned out that that was the thing, I was good at reading music, I could read the music pretty quickly so that changed my thoughts about what I was doing. Journalism no more, music was gonna be, so yeah I started doing that and I loved it and have been doing it ever since.”
Tau would then go on to become an established performer and was cast in the role Banzai in “The Lion King” and toured with the national tour for nearly nine years.
“It was an incredible experience, not only for it being such a great show, but we got to travel a lot so I got to see a lot of North America,” Tau said.
The biggest thing Tau said he learned while touring was appreciating where he was in life and reflecting on his value as an artist.
“We second guess ourselves a lot as performing artists because we’re always auditioning and trying out and having to impress someone for a job,” Tau said.” “It really took a lot for me to recognize that I deserve to be where I was, that I had worked hard and I earned the spot and that it was a good thing I was in the right place.”
In 2013, Tau became an adjunct music professor and later got a job as a music professor at CRC and teaches voice class, choir and a practicum course with the music majors. He loves how he can share his passion for music with his students.
“I learn a lot about what I’m doing by talking about it with my students,” Tau said. “They teach me as much as I teach them, so bringing my experiences to them, I think that we have a strong exchange. They see me in the world as a possibility, a career path possibility. They see the things that I’m doing as something they can possibly do, I hope.”
Tau still performs and was in several productions in the past year with Broadway Sacramento. He performed in productions such as “Kinky Boots,” “Carousel,” Kiss me, Kate,” “The Secret Garden,” and “The Color Purple.”
“It’s important to keep working while we’re teaching so that we can continue to inform our students and our program of what’s happening in the industry today,” Tau said.
The Dean of Arts, Media and Entertainment, Brian Rickel, said he thinks very highly of Tau and loves how he can help in two departments of AME, music and theater.
“I think that’s one of the biggest bonuses he brings is that he is just a lover and consumer of art in general,” Rickel said.
Rickel said he likes how engaging Tau is with his students and described Tau in one word which is generous.
“Omari is very giving of himself when it comes to his job and his students and also when it comes to his work outside of here, yeah, he’s a very giving person,” Rickel said.
One of Tau’s students, Jianna Eugenio, a 25-year-old music major, was happy to talk about Tau and said she loves how enthusiastic and passionate his teaching style is.
“What I’ve come to notice and genuinely appreciate is how he meets every student, like myself, where we are and helps us explore where we can go and I honestly believe like a big part of that is because of the environment he creates,” Eugenio said.
Eugenio said she loves how Tau tries to make each of his students feel good about themselves and their work.
“He helps me and each of his students to recognize like in ourselves that yes, we do have something unique to share, especially with our music and our voice,” Eugenio said. “So he always encourages us to lean in, to be courageous rather than to shrink ourselves, so that’s something that I’ve been deeply appreciative and experiencing in my time with him.”
One thing Tau said he hopes his students leave with after working with him is the mindset that anything is possible.
“Really, the idea is that they get to create what kind of path they want,” Tau said. “I’m hoping that they not only already have a bit of curiosity, but that curiosity explodes as they leave.”