The Choir Program is off to a harmonious start. Former Assistant Director, Adrian Kirtley, has returned to Timber Creek, now as Head Director.
The choir room may seem exclusively for the best voices of the campus. However, the program is welcoming to all students interested in joining choir. Over the years, choir students and staff have created a family-like atmosphere and they encourage everyone to be a part of it.
“As silly as it sounds, you do not have to be a great singer to be in choir…You can join choir just to see what it is like,” Kirtley said. “There are people here for the comradery or here for the music making course.”
Kirtley’s own beginning in the program did not completely stem from his love for music. He details his experience as a sixth grader enrolling in choir.
”In middle school, boys just hated me because middle school boys looked for people to hate. So if you have something different than you or if you have anything that is an easy target and everyone in the room can spot it, the whole classroom of boys is going to find peace in hating that one because everyone else is doing it. I heard about choir as being the one class that did not have boys, so that was perfect for me. Then the next year.. there were 30 boys in choir. The girls were certainly not going to pick on me, and the guys that joined choir were picking on nobody. It was football players, basketball players, theater kids. They knew that if they were going to join choir there was not going to be anyone getting picked on.” said Kirtley.
Junior, Xavier Bailey, is one of many choir members who was taught by Kirtley in 2016.
“Since Kirtley returned, the whole choir energy has transformed into a familial, friendly vibe. Walking into the choir room every day is a refreshing and exciting feeling,” Bailey expresses. “Choir has become such an organized and refined machine with Kirtley. He has morphed us into extremely talented musicians and I couldn’t be more thankful for his work.”
Within the department are different levels of chorus. While some perform competitively, others do not. This allows for each student to confidently recognize their comfort zone and step out as they see fit. Furthermore, Kirtley has also brought the concept of the Chamber Choir to the campus. Beginning this year, the Chamber Choir is an elite ensemble of exactly 24 voices: seven sopranos, seven altos, five tenors, and five bases, and it is comprised of the most musically advanced students. It was created as a subset for those who are seeking an intense choral education beyond the class period. To showcase their collective talent, the Chamber will be competing at the 2019 Madrigal Festival Competition in the Spring.
Notably, the program is also more than their exceptional voices, because the students and teachers embody an inclusive atmosphere. In the choir room the students stand on the risers facing towards one poster that conveys the message of the entire department.
“Absolutely no racism, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, ableism, fatphobia or general hatefulness allowed in this area,” the poster states.
“Choir is an extremely welcoming and accepting environment. You can take one look at the posters we have hung up and realize that the choir department is a safe and non-judgemental place,” Bailey shares. “Going to choir truly feels like coming home to me.”