Soon after arriving at the School in August of 2012, Rachel identified her first goal – grow and improve the School’s a cappella group. In just a few months’ time, the a cappella ensemble has nearly doubled in size and students have the option of combining a cappella participation with an academic class called “Voice Ensemble”. These steps have already led to a stronger group, both musically and interpersonally. Recently, our a cappella members have taken to scheduling additional rehearsals on their own time…just for fun! In the fall semester, the a cappella group performed at our School’s Holiday Celebration and individual members of the group have performed at several school Morning Meetings. Second semester plans include full-ensemble performances at Morning Meeting, the School’s bi-annual Coffee House, Graduation and a Fisher Cats (AAA baseball) game in Manchester, NH. Rachel will be working toward increasing a cappella performances both here on campus and beyond our grounds in the coming year.
In the 2012-13 school year, Rachel offered “Vocal Ensemble” (year-long) and two semester courses, “History of American Music” and “Music Theory.” Because of increased student interest, WMS is increasing the number of music offerings in 2013-14, adding “Music Appreciation” and splitting music history into two separate courses, “Music History: Baroque to Jazz” and “Music History: Jazz to Modern”. Rachel’s curricular goals are to provide beginning music students with avenues to enter the world of music while also providing opportunities for experienced musicians to formalize their training in preparation for college coursework as well as for lifelong music pursuits. In addition to formal courses, WMS students can take private music lessons on specific instruments and are welcome to use the music room on their own time to sing, practice or jam together.
When asked to comment on the School’s decision to build the Houghton Arts Center (opening in January 2014), Rachel Spector practically sang this enthusiastic reply, “I am so excited to be teaching at a school that is dedicated to meeting the needs of its arts program! Our students are ready for more and the administration and board of trustees heard them and responded. With our new arts center, kids who are already serious about music will have better practice space. We can invite more outside performers and collaborators and more students will be encouraged to explore music. Maybe we’ll start another vocal ensemble, an instrumental ensemble, a band…there are so many great opportunities!”