Chorus teacher out for rest of semester

Chorus teacher Amy Davis has taken a short leave of absence because her husband is at high risk of COVID-19. Davis said she would not return until the second semester.

“She told us on Sept. 21 that she was going to be out the rest of the semester, but there wasn’t really any heads up,” Reela Schwind (10) said. “Everyone was super-surprised. She told us she didn’t want to risk bringing anything back to her husband.”

The administration hired West Shore alumna Melanie Richardson as a temporary replacement.

“She’s pretty cool. Her schedule is pretty nice,” Mitchell Cooper (10) said. “We play games occasionally, not all the time, occasionally.”  

Richardson is currently working on new lesson plans to improve students’ learning by incorporating more research than singing. 

“It is still a work in progress,” Richardson said. “Still trying to work things out, but so far, we’ve done a lot of learning about music theory, and you know things involving music, symbols and such, and a lot of music-related activities/games to kind of get them thinking about different songs. For example, we do one where I write a word on the board, and they have to come up as a group with a song that has that word in it, and then tell it to me, so things like that just to kind of get them starting to think more about music. Hopefully, we will be doing more history of music. It’s definitely weird with not being able to sing inside, so that puts a lot of restriction and makes so I have to be creative in other ways.” 

The e-learners have not met the new teacher and are still adapting to the change. 

“The e-learners haven’t logged into Google Meet for chorus since September,” Schwind said. “However, starting tomorrow, we will be. We have a temporary teacher, and she just let the e-learners know that starting [today] and going forward, we will be logging on for chorus.”

Richardson has had a lot of experience with chorus and has an appreciation for the arts.  

“I graduated from here in 2015 and actually had chorus with Mrs. Davis for all six years, and I also went on to get a degree in music from the University of Florida, so I definitely have music experience,” Richardson said. 

Richardson’s first career choice was not to be a temporary teacher in chorus, but she seems to be coming around to that idea now.

“I wouldn’t say it’s completely off the table,” she said. “It will definitely depend a lot on how the world kind of evolves right now. I also have a degree in chemical engineering, which is what I really wanted to get a job in, but I have such a huge passion for music, and I just love being in music classes and being with other people who enjoy music.”

By Mackenzie Sullivan