Each Monday after school, a small group of teachers at Gilbert Stuart Middle School snake their way from their classrooms to the music room located in the school basement.
While they teach diverse disciplines of English, physical education and health, performing arts and guidance, they all share something special: they love to sing.
The Gilbert Stuart Teacher Chorus is comprised of a small group of seven teachers accompanied by music teacher Suzanne Doiron on keyboard as the unofficial director. While their number is small, and none of them has formal vocal training, their enthusiasm for singing looms large as members say they’ve joined “because it’s fun.”
Soon, this group will share their enthusiasm and talent beyond the basement music room to the middle school’s graduation ceremony on June 25 and future school events.
Rehearsals are brief and are held just before the school chorus comes in to practice. At a recent rehearsal, the atmosphere was loose and informal as teachers joked and talked about songs to sing for the upcoming graduation. Soon, the high-ceilinged room filled with melodious voices and the familiar tunes of “Over the Rainbow,” “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” and “It’s a Wonderful World.”
English teacher Alfred Krapf founded the group after discussing the idea with performing arts teacher Xenia Walker as an activity for teachers at the school talent show and graduation. The group began meeting last semester and enlisted Doiron, who plays the keyboard and leads the rehearsals.
The group mainly practices show tunes and performed at the school’s holiday concert with the student chorus. They made a huge hit last December as they strolled the school’s hallways singing Christmas carols.
“Students were coming out of their classrooms, singing along and swaying to the music,” said Walker. “It was really beautiful, almost spiritual. It was like a family singing together.”
“I look forward to it,” said Krapf of the chorus rehearsals. “It’s a nice way to unwind on a Monday.”