Choral director takes program in new direction

Striving to create self-assured singers, choral activities director Jon Timmons is making changes to the program, including a newly added fall concert on October 13.


Shifting student officer positions, adding a concert, changing singing roles and working with a new student teacher, choral activities director Jon Timmons hopes to produce confident and hardworking students.
This year, the choral program consists of four courses students can take. These courses are Treble Choir, Tenor-Bass Choir, Concert Choir and Advanced Choir. Timmons teaches these classes with the aid of student teacher Ben Herstig.
Previously, the student leadership positions offered were president, vice president, librarian and treasurer. Now, the options are president and vice president.
Timmons felt that having only a president and vice president was ideal for the choirs. “I feel like the other roles were sort of obligatory and not really needed to be honest. Inevitably, someone ends up not really doing much or feels like they’re neglected,” Timmons said. “I wanted to take four positions that could be condensed into two and have two really strong leaders instead of four.”
Concert Choir President Madeline Stankus feels that it was a smart decision to make.
In addition to changing the student officer roles, Timmons shifted the way each choir sings.
Advanced Choir used to learn all of Concert Choir’s repertoire and perform it with them. Timmons made the decision to no longer have Advanced Choir do this.
Feedback from past Concert Choir members impacted this decision.
“[Students] that had been in Concert Choir for a number of years said they felt so strong with their class and learning the music,” Timmons said. “It felt like adding in another group kind of last minute diminished a little bit of the group sparkle that Concert Choir has.”
Stankus is “overjoyed” to have Concert Choir sing alone. “I feel as if Concert Choir can hold our own, and we have never been highlighted for our hard work and dedication,” Stankus said.
Another change in the choral program is the addition of a third concert.
Herstig will be taking over some of Timmons’ responsibilities during the concert.
“I will be conducting two of the mass group pieces. Those pieces are ‘Surface Pressure’ and ‘O Sing Joyfully,’” Herstig said. “Not only that, but pre-fall concert, I have been involved in teaching those pieces and working on them.”
Timmons created the fall concert to help students become more acclimated to performing before the winter concert. “I also wanted to have a concert where everyone’s singing together to get that level of confidence being on stage while having their family and friends in the audience and feeling really good about that,” Timmons said.
In addition to gaining performing skills, Timmons wants his students to still enjoy the concert.
“I want every singer on stage to feel pride in themselves, their voices and the community that is choir,” Timmons said. “I [also] want it to be fun. I want it to be something that kids really look forward to.”
Stankus cannot wait to perform in the fall concert. “I think this [concert] will be a fun outlet to do something fun,” Stankus said. “It is not more of a formal concert, so we can play around and let our creativity flow.”