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New music director brings variety

Swimming in ice-cold water teeming with man-eating sharks, Aaron Bryan swam to Alcatraz in the Shark Fest Race in 2001 and 2002. He finished 2nd in his age group and 72nd out of 900 people. This was one of his favorite moments and he hopes that he can do it again.

“I wasn’t worried about swimming with sharks,” Bryan said. “Or even the great whites. They are mostly afraid when a group of 900 swims by. I was scared though when a couple of sea lions bumped me and swam side-by-side me for a while. It kinda spooked me.”

Bryan’s own high school choir director and love for music inspired him and he hopes to contribute his past experiences to help his students.

“I love choral music and being with high school students,” Bryan said. “They have a great sense of humor, and they are willing to take risks, and try something new.”

Bryan’s most embarrassing moment was when he was a student teacher and he made an error in judgment. As a result, he split his pants just minutes before the choir was to go on stage at a national convention.

These humiliating experiences do not seem to deter Bryan from his passion.

“I love music,” Bryan said. “It’s my favorite thing in the world, whether it’s made through an instrument or a voice.”

Students appreciate the variety and different musical styles that Bryan uses in the classroom.

“Mr. Bryan is so encouraging; he is also so respectful to his students,” Katelyn Aydelotte, ’08, said. “I like Mr. Bryan as the new choir teacher. I like the variety of songs he has chosen.”

From encouraging to teaching, Bryan has an impact on his students.

“He does not take things so seriously compared to some of directors I have had in the past,” Danielle Wilborn, ’08, said. “He tries to make choir more enjoyable for his students. He respects us so we respect him.”

Bryan splits his teaching between choir and ensemble. Bryan enjoys the relationships formed with the students through their mutual love of music.

“I think he is really nice and he helps us sing to our potential,” Peter Ocheltree, ’07, said. “Overall the songs he chooses are good.”

Dr. Roy Klassen, a professor at Fresno Pacific University, will be visiting the ensemble and concert choir on Oct. 15 to work with them during 1st and 3rd period. Dr. Klassen was Bryan’s mentor and college choir director.

Dr. Klassen has worked with choirs locally as well as worldwide. Recently he was the guest conductor for a mass children’s choir in Japan. Currently Bryan sings in the San Joaquin Chorale under the leadership of Dr. Klassen.

“The campus is fortunate,” Bryan said. “Having a gifted and talented musician coming to work with the choirs.”

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