Moorestown High School’s Visual and Performing Arts department presented its winter choral concert, led by a new teacher, on Dec. 2.
Choral Director Caela Johnson is in her first year of teaching music at the high school.
“I was a vocal and music education major,” said the Rowan University graduate. “I was there for four years. I studied conducting and (various) different ensembles and such.”
The concert featured the high school’s Madrigals and concert choir, along with a trio and ensemble performance. Students Alexis Jacob, Jatin Jaswal and Lucas Kirmsse had solos.
Christmas songs performed included “Carol of the Bells” and “Sing We All Noel.” The Madrigals closed the evening with a heartfelt performance of “Silent Night.”
Johnson started working with her students months ahead of the concert.
“Because of COVID and being a new teacher, I came (in) and assessed the kids and where they were at for (probably) a (good) month before I started choosing the music,” she explained.
“We played around with a few pieces, and (then) when it didn’t work, we moved on,” Johnson added. “If it did work, we (really) dug in.”
The teacher also decided to let the students choose the songs.
“(I guess) my ultimate goal was the (real) appreciation for music,” she said. “I didn’t want to choose anything that they didn’t enjoy, because then it’s not fun anymore.”
Since she started teaching, Johnson has bonded with all her students.
“Every day is so different,” she noted. “Our first performance, we did a Veterans Day assembly, and it was the first time that we performed together.”
(I think) that was the most special moment that we’ve had so far.”
Johnson is excited about the remaining school year and her future at the high school.
“I’m (just) looking forward to building more relationships with my students,” she offered. “I think tonight brought us (even) closer together. There was this moment where I walked backstage into my classroom and all of my kids were cheering and happy.”
“That was really special.”