PALMYRA — High school music teacher and choir director Jill Davis has high expectations for Palmyra-Macedon Select Choir students, but you won’t hear any of them complain.
Sophomore Molly St. Thomas said it’s an honor to get into Select Choir, and with that honor comes specific responsibilities. Choir members are expected to maintain their grades, attend rehearsals and keep scheduled private voice lessons. They are also expected to do their best and get it right every time they open their mouths to sing a note, never letting nerves get the best of them.
“Miss Davis always tells us that nerves keep you on your toes,” St. Thomas said, adding that her teacher is always checking up on them and making sure they are doing OK.
Beyond the notes and lyrics, Davis makes singing a learning experience. Students not only know what they are singing, but they also understanding the music’s significance in history.
Senior Daniel Wasserlauf said he estimates the average choir member dedicates 20 to 30 hours a week to Select Choir.
“But it’s not a chore,” said junior Britini Stupin who said, like sports to some students, choir is everything to her. “It’s something we signed up for. We want to do well and get better.”
Davis hardly falls short of meeting demands herself. In her seventh year directing the choir, students said she never missed a beat last year, even as she continued her education to become an administrator.
“She was upbeat and never showed her stress or took it out on us,” Wasserlauf said. “She’s a fantastic role model. I think that’s why the Select Choir has done so well.”
Her choir is well aware of how hard their director works, and it makes them want to work that much harder.
“You want to make her proud,” Stupin said. “That’s why we work so hard.”