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Resilience in the CHS and CECHS Choir Programs

By Miranda Stroble


When asked what defines the 7 graduating seniors from the choir programs at Carlsbad High School and the Carlsbad Early College High School as a group, choir director Robin Irving described them as, “…fearless, independent, determined. There is nothing stopping that group, not just in music but every part of their life. This is a phenomenal group both in the choir room and outside the choir room.”

The senior choir students persevered through some significant changes in their school days. When this class of students was in 6th grade the middle schools were separate campuses for 6th-8th grade students. Then when they moved into 7th grade they were merged into the Carlsbad Intermediate School for the first time. The students that had been in separate choir programs were now joined together.

When these students began their 9th grade year the students were again split among two schools. The Carlsbad Early College High School students were allowed to participate with the Carlsbad High School choir, but due to scheduling complications the CECHS students rehearsed independently during their lunch times and rehearsals outside of school. Robin Irving directed the CECHS students, and they would perform with the CHS choir in concerts and at competitions under the direction of Amanda Ingraham with assistance from Ken Miller. It was complicated, but they made it work.

When this group began their junior year of school the CECHS, students were no longer allowed to participate with the CHS choir, but they had the benefit of being able to now take a choir class for credit at their own school and became an independent choir under the direction of Robin Irving.

That same school year the Carlsbad High School choir lost Mrs. Irving as their accompanist as she moved into the new position at CECHS, and Mrs. Ingraham and Mr. Miller were offered other career opportunities that moved them away from Carlsbad. The school district was unable to find a new choir teacher to hire for CHS, and so for the Fall semester band director Ken Young stepped in to fill the gap and keep the program afloat with the assistance of Linda Servold. In the Spring semester Ken Miller returned to take back over the program.

For the senior year of the CHS students, they experienced one more teacher. Ken Miller retired and seeing that the choir program was without a teacher Miranda Stroble, who had taught theatre for the three years prior, stepped into the vacant position for the year to hold the program over until a new choir teacher could be found.

The seniors of the choir programs at both schools have stood strong and continued to grow and achieve great things in spite of the tumultuous changes happening in their choir programs. Many of the students participated in Solo and Ensemble each year, and they performed very well. Zachary McAlister made the New Mexico All State choir all four years of high school, and at solo and ensemble contest he was chosen as Outstanding Soloist of the Day his sophomore and senior years. Coltrin Felt was in the All State choir for all 3 years he participated in choir in high school. Choir director Robin Irving also stated, “Kaylee Hayes was accepted into the Carnegie Hall Honor Choir in New York City this year. Coltrin Felt was accepted into the National Honor Choir in Orlando, Florida last year.”

Both choirs had great success as they performed concerts, competed at district and state competitions, performed in variety shows and talent shows, delivered singing telegrams, and had many community performances. “During the freshman year for these students the Troubadours sang at the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast,” choir director Amanda Ingraham shared. “During their sophomore year they performed at the New Mexico State School Board meeting in the Fall, and they performed a song I commissioned from Dr. Byron Rogers at Lubbock Christian University from a poem my mom wrote. That was super special for them to get to do an original written piece that had never been done before.” These choir students have withstood many challenges and still achieved great things. Music has the power to unify the human spirit. These students will be forever bonded through the beautiful music they have made together. One of the most wonderful things a community can experience together is the experience of hearing magnificent music. Congratulations to the choir students of the class of 2020! Continue to fill the world with your beautiful music.

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