I know this is a bit of a tangent, but I had to post about a teacher that had a true impact on me and who I’ve become. Recently, one of my patients brought to my attention that this teacher had recently retired, which is shocking since he was my choir teacher from 1998-2001. He had built this AMAZING music program from the ground up with just a piano and pure dedication for the past 30 years.
Back in middle school, which is a hard time for everyone, I felt extremely alone and pigeoned holed as the “nerdy Asian girl”. Minorities were never the popular ones and no one in my school knew K-pop. What I realized was that in all my academic classes ie Math/ Science etc. I was the quiet Asian girl getting straight A’s. In choir, it felt as though we were all just one voice. There was an even playing field in that multi-purpose room and no one’s voice was a minority or a stereotype.
Mr. Todd Helm held our middle school choir together and we practiced songs from all different genres. He exposed us to Vaudeville, Classical Music, Cinema, and performances at Disneyland. I distinctly remember all of us having to wear a red cummerbund for the first time.
Music is important. Singing is important. Now with kids of my own, I feel that importance on a deeper level. The arts connect us in a different way than the sciences do. As an adult, I don’t see much use in my profession for singing, but today I heard choir music from a recent instagram post of the local school choir and I was transported back to a time when I felt joy at a difficult period of my life.
I feel immense gratitude for this teacher who showed up day to day to bring us together as one voice. I wish I could thank him, and even though there is no way he would remember me, I want him to know I VERY much remember him and the times we sang under his direction. Choir made me a more confident person which contributed to the foundation of who I am today.
Thank you Mr. Helm.