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Making music at Minot High

Students are foremost for choir director

Submitted Photo

Minot High School choir director Lindsay Kerzmann said she always enjoyed music when she was in school, but her original plan was to become a lawyer.

“I was minoring in music so I could get the scholarship I had been awarded,” said Kerzmann, who moved to Minot with her Air Force family in the mid 1990s and went on to attend Minot Public Schools and Minot State University, where she started as a history major.

There were always a lot of things she enjoyed in school, including music. But her career goal changed when she was in college. She found that she enjoyed working with children at different camps or talent shows and knew a lot of people who also planned to work with children. She could no longer picture a career working in an office and doing research for legal cases.

Music education eventually became her life path. Kerzmann graduated from Minot State with a bachelor’s degree in 2002 and went on to teach music education at TGU-Granville for five years. She went on to teach music at Jim Hill Middle School and later became the choir director at Minot High School. She earned a master’s degree from MSU as well.

Most of her former music teachers had already left the school when she began teaching at the high school, but Kerzmann said a few of her former teachers were still teaching at other schools in town when she started her career as a teacher.

One of her teachers, longtime Minot High band director Dave Jensen, was still teaching at the high school when she became choir director. She said it was nice for her to “graduate that relationship” with some of the teachers who had taught her as a high school student to one of congenial colleagues.

For Kerzmann, like other teachers in the Minot Public Schools, the focus is on providing the best experience for her students.

“(It’s) 100 percent the kids,” said Kerzmann, who said she thinks every teacher has to have a little bit of performer in them to be successful at the job but it also helps to meet students where they’re at.

Her students are comfortable talking and joking with her but also know when it’s time to buckle down to serious work on upcoming shows.

“A lot of education comes down to relationships and students knowing that you care about them,” said Kerzmann.

Kerzmann said her she might be tempted to cry when a class of graduating seniors is about to move on to the next stage of their lives, but she’s also always happy to see them take that next step.

Protective steps that were needed last year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic meant challenges for music students and their teachers. When they returned to their classrooms during the last school year, choir students found themselves practicing in theaters, spread out from each other, and wearing masks. Live performances were not held until last spring.

This year things seem to be pretty much back to normal, said Kerzmann. Students and teachers are getting used to the pressure and the fun of preparing for upcoming plays and concerts. Kerzmann has recently been the musical director for the high school musical “Legally Blonde” in addition to directing the choir groups and the middle school students with the Western Plains Children’s Choir, a role she took on this fall for the first time.

Kerzmann said there have been no outbreaks of COVID-19 that originated in her classroom.

She is also enjoying the new challenge of working with the middle school students in the Western Plains Children’s Choir.

“They’re fun,” she said of the kids, who are also a bit of a novelty because they are a few years younger than the high school students she has been used to working with. “It’s a fun group.”

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