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New music to our ears

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Ms. Kara Levchenko is the new choir teacher at Central High School. She is a native of Germantown, Maryland and a recent graduate of James Madison University. 

What should students know about you and your classes?

Respect, above all, is big in my classroom. So, trying new things, taking risks, and respecting each other (not making fun of each other) is above all in music class and any class.

What inspired you to be a music teacher?

In middle school, the first day of sixth-grade choir I walked in and my choir teacher starting singing “Three Little Birds,” the Bob Marley song. He didn’t introduce himself, or ask what our names were. He just said, “We’re going to sing this song now.” He taught it, and he was amazing at keyboard, so he just starting improvising while we were singing it. He taught us a few parts. We did it in separate parts. Afterwards, he said, “Oh by the way this is my name. What are your names?” And then we all started to get to know each other. I thought that sense of community and comfort  that I felt in that 6th grade class was the first day of all of middle school that I felt comfortable because every other time I was like, “Oh my gosh, I’m going to be late. I have no idea what my schedule is. I don’t even know where my locker is. I don’t know anybody. I have no friends.” But in that classroom, it didn’t matter. And I was like, “I want my classroom to be like that.”

What are your goals as a teacher/music teacher?

My goals as a teacher are to make everyone feel safe. My goals as a music teacher specifically is to show everyone that there is a place for music in their life, and that might look different depending on the person. It doesn’t mean they have to be a music major, but maybe it stays in their life somehow.

What brought you to Central High School?

I actually knew Ms. Hunsberger because she went to JMU as well. She called her old professor and said, “I have this thing that’s happening. I got a job offer that’s closer to my family that I’m trying to start. It’s a perfect opportunity, but I have to leave my kids in good hands. I need somebody to replace me. I’d love somebody from JMU.” That’s how I got in touch with my professor and she said, “Be expecting a call from Kaitlyn Hunsberger. She’s going to let you know about a job.” So I got a call, and we chatted. The we met over the summer and talked about the school and she said, “You will love it.”

What interested you in teaching at the high school level?

I wanted to do middle school or high school because the little ones, although they’re cute, we do not get along very well because they’re a whole other brand of person. I think once you are a middle schooler or high schooler, you want to be treated as an adult, and I love treating people as equals because, in my opinion, we are equals.

What interested you in music and choir?

The way that it makes me feel. Like singing in a choir, conducting a choir sort of similar, but not the same at all. Just being part of an ensemble, part of a group when it goes right, you’re like, “We nailed that rhythm that we’ve been working on for so many weeks,” or you have an audience to spark up the energy. Suddenly you’re not just performing in your class, you’re performing for your parents and everyone, you’re like, “I’m a little nervous, but I’m also excited.” And then after you do it, you’re a kind of hungry and tired, and that feeling is sort of after a sport you’re just energized.

What are your goals for the musical?

I would just like everyone to have a great time and for us to put on a quality performance.

 

 

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