Choir department welcomes new director

Suzanna Creasey, Lifestyle Editor

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Choir Director Kelsey Nichols conducts Chorale during rehearsal for the Fall Concert on Oct. 24 and Nov. 14. She is the first female choir director in over fourteen years. Nichols also directs Ladies First, Ow! and Fermata Nowhere. Photo by Amy Glazer

Below their feet, the floor of the bus grew warm. The acrid smell of burnt rubber turned to the smell of smoke.

“We look out and we can see sparks shooting out of the side,” Kaitlin Wallace, a senior at Wheaton-Warrenville South, said.

At her previous position at Wheaton-Warrenville South High School, Kelsey Nichols, who now is the Glenbrook North choir director, said the competitive show choir was on its way to a competition when a popped tire led the bus to catch aflame. Most of their belongings were destroyed.

Wallace said Nichols checked every girl on the bus to make sure they had not been hurt.

“[Nichols’] spirit was so positive even in such tragedy,” Wallace said.

Chad Davidson, instructional supervisor for fine arts, said Nichols transitioned to the GBN choir director position this year and currently teaches Treble Choir, Varsity Spartan Choir, a section of TLS Music and co-teaches Chorale with him. Additionally, she directs acapella groups Fermata Nowhere and Ow! as well as show choir Ladies First.

Nichols said she came across the GBN choir director position and applied because she would rather teach high school students exclusively instead of splitting her time between middle school and high school teaching, which her previous position required.

“I’m someone that loves to learn and loves to grow, and high schoolers keep me on my toes,” Nichols said.

Davidson said the previous full-time choir position became a part-time job after a dip in choir enrollment, so the previous choir director left to seek a full-time job.

To attract more underclassmen into the choir program, Davidson said Nichols has been visiting freshman SRTs and talking to kids in the hallways.

GBN senior Melissa Goldin said Nichols showed her excitement to meet the girls in Fermata Nowhere by baking chocolate cupcakes with fermatas iced on them.

“I came 15 minutes early for the first Fermata rehearsal because I wanted to meet her,” said Goldin. “She was smiling. She was so excited to see us.”

Nichols said seeing her students connect with music in class are some of her favorite moments as a teacher.

“I have a boy [in TLS music] that … got up and danced the whole time,” said Nichols. “He had been kind of sitting before that and didn’t seem to really want to do it … and then he liked the song and he got up and started to dance.”

Davidson said Nichols brings instruments like ukuleles and guitars into the TLS class she teaches to create a fun learning environment.

“She brought in a guitar to play ‘Love Story’ by Taylor Swift and she was like, ‘I can only play three chords, but those are the only three you need to play this song, so here we go,’” Davidson said.

Nichols said she tries to act as a mentor for her students by encouraging them to come to her when they need help.

“We’re not just teachers,” said Nichols. “We are also comforters and motivators and I think that’s a huge part of what we do.”

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Choir department welcomes new director