Teacher of the month: Choral accompanist and secretary, Kristen Smith


Dana Ibarra-Escobar

Kristen Smith goes over music with the beginning women’s choir on Friday, Jan. 18.

Dana Ibarra, Staff Writer

Kristen Smith, has been the the choral accompanist and secretary for the past four years and plays a essential role in the music department.

Originally, Smith dreamed of becoming a veterinarian. It wasn’t until the end of her high school years when she decided that she wanted to become a musician.

“I really loved orchestra,” said Smith. “I started off as a violist, and it was just the place where I was the happiest. It was a place that felt like home.”

After high school, Smith attended the University of Cincinnati. During college, she taught private viola lessons and worked a number of other jobs until she found herself educating the student musicians of Elkhart Memorial.

Her roles as an educator include:being the accompanist for choir, preparing students for solo and ensemble, processing fundraisers, and managing student accounts.

One of Smith’s primary goals in teaching is for every student to excel.

“It’s a two pronged goal of wanting to take people where they are and help make them better,” Smith said, ”and to make it a point where it’s enjoyable.”

Not only does she help with all the high school choirs, she also works with students at West Side Middle School.

“We get a lot of West Side students [at Memorial], so it’s really cool to see them grow from 7th grade to 9th grade,” Smith said.

Smith enjoys the deepened relationship that she gets to form with students as she works with them year-to-year.

In addition to teaching, Smith loves to sing. She is in a 1940’s trio with her close friends, and along with the viola, Smith plays the piano, and the organ.

Although being able to work with a wide variety of people with a variety of skill levels is a big challenge, Smith sets a great standard.

Outside of school, Smith volunteers her time at her church working with singers between the ages of 60 and 70.

“No matter how old or young you are,” Smith said. “if want to get better, it only takes enough effort.”