A Choir Director Troubled, Yet Not Deterred by the Pandemic: Ms. Greer

Drew Gray, Contributing Writer

Have you ever listened to Dean Martin? Nat King Cole? John Denver? These are just a few of the musical artists the WHS choir director Ms. Greer listens to with her family during their spare time.

Ms. Greer grew up in Chalfont, PA, just under an hour north of Philadelphia. She grew up wanting to go into the pharmaceutical industry. However, with the urging of her private voice teacher, she attended college in order to pursue the career of music.

Through the Boston Conservatory at Berklee College of Music, she earned her undergraduate degree in vocal performance, and her masters degree in music education. Her initial thought was to go into vocal performance, but eventually she fell in love with teaching choir, particularly after landing here at WHS.

Conversely, through her classes at the high school, she stresses the importance of singing together and building ensemble skills. When COVID-19 took the world by storm, Ms. Greer was left contemplating how she could still teach her students choral music. With careful consideration over the summer heading into the pandemic-enduring school year, she and the Fine Arts Department decided that hand chimes would be a safer yet productive alternative to the inability to sing. Along with this decision, students would still be able to sing slightly, except over Zoom on days with remote classes.

Her students began to learn to play chimes as the school year progressed, and it proved to be a useful way for ensembles to still make music together. But, there was still something missing; she states, the “joy had been taken out of the classroom.” Greer adds, “it’s not just singing, it’s singing together: that’s what we’re missing.”

Nevertheless, with vaccines and some restrictions lifted due to the increase in knowledge about COVID-19, the Department of Education decided earlier this month that singing would be allowed indoors again. Like many choir directors, Ms. Greer was excited about this news, yet skeptical. In spite of this, her initial concern was quickly reassured by the strict guidelines provided by the Department of Education.

With these new rules, Ms. Greer and her choirs have begun singing inside over the past few days in school in the cafeteria. She hopes to have outdoor concerts like ACappellooza, and by the end of the school year to have each of her school-based ensembles present two songs on hand chimes and two songs while singing in cohort-divided performances.

So, although her world has been flipped upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms. Greer has persevered and is happy to be singing once again with her students.