Notes that Nourish the Spirit of the Middle School Choir Teacher

I found this note in my inbox this morning from a parent...four days after our spring musical revue.  Made my day.  We don't get paid huge salaries.  We give our hearts to our endeavors in our classrooms.  So, when we receive a letter like this one after pouring ourselves into the production of a musical revue for 300 children...well...the timing is perfect.

Dear Mr. Duncan,

I suppose you may get a lot of notes like this but I hope you don’t mind
one more.  

You are awesome.  You bring out the best in every life you touch.  Your
students love you.  That is apparent by the dedication they have to the

Chorus program at Henderson Middle School.  You inspire young people on
and off stage to persevere through the often-awkward first years as
teens.  Their minds are expanded through more challenging curriculum,
their bodies are challenged through growth spurts and releases of
hormones, and their hearts are captivated by a man who shares his passion
for music with them.

My daughter, Joy, played trumpet for a bit at Briarlake (both of her
uncles and both grandfathers and her great-grandfather played or continue
to play trumpet—no pressure, huh?).  She was patient with us as we
nudged her and tried to nurture her talent.  My wife and I (and all our
family) LOVE to sing.  That is how we met—in a bar where she worked and
I played.  I eventually played upright bass in a bluegrass band and I was
in a production of Cotton Patch Gospel by Harry Chapin and Tom Key with
the Theatrical Outfit in 1999 at the Rialto in Atlanta.  For Joy, singing
won out over trumpet when it came time to choose which track to pursue at

I credit her participation in chorus with preserving her interest in
school over all.  When asked about her day, she skips over the core
classes and goes into excited, extended explanations of what is going on
with Chorus and more specifically the Musical. 

You and the students, along with those who assisted with choreography and
directing, put on a great show again this year.  It was thoroughly
impressive and enjoyable.  You exposed me to some new favorites that I
can’t stop humming (Superboy and the Invisible Girl, Crazier than You,
and Revolting Children) and reminded me of some old favorites that moved
me to tears.  The way each song was staged and executed demonstrated a
level of professionalism that is rare even among paid performers.  The
solos, duets, trios and the chorus transformed the HMS gym into a musical
wonderland that I did not want to end.

Please, take a moment to let it go to your head.  You deserve it.  OK,
now back to reality.  Have a great summer!
Paul Carpenter (Joy's dad)

And one more:

Kim Speece 
Fri 5/8/2015 9:56 PM

Dale Duncan (Henderson Middle);

Thank you for what we believe was the best show yet! The talent you are able to pull out of these kids each year is amazing. Please keep doing what you are doing because you are making a huge impact on these kids' lives - an impact that goes way beyond the stage. You have taught them the importance of hard work, dedication, team work and pure grit. All of these are lessons that typically don't come from a classroom unless that classroom has Dale Duncan as the teacher.
Tonight, Kenley said she wanted to do the show one more time just because she does not want the whole experience to be over. As a parent, I thank you.

Sent from my iPhone

Middle School Choral Teachers...keep going.  Keep giving your hearts to the kids and sharing your passions.  Keep organizing parents to support you and help you so that it isn't all up to you. Ask administrators for the support you need.  When they say no, ask again 6 months later.  Be tenacious.  Be positive.  Look for solutions.  Keep striving to create the program you've envisioned in your heart and brain so that every day, you are working toward its ultimate birth.

It all pays off.

Here are some pictures from out spring show.

Go to "YouTube" to see our rendition of "You Can't Stop the Beat".
Link to "Carry the Banner" opener 2015.

Check out my blog!
Creator of the S-Cubed Middle School Sight Singing Program for Beginners