Photo: Andy Pauquette

Meet Phyllis, FWCC’s Lyric Choir Director. Phyllis grew up in Fort Wayne and attended North Side High School where she majored in music with a theater minor. She attended Ball State for a year to major in Music Education, but due to a family illness, she returned to Fort Wayne and completed her degree at IPFW as a voice major.  She taught at several Fort Wayne schools before obtaining the Music Teacher/Choir Director position at Weisser Park Arts Magnet. She also has 2 levels of Orff from IPFW, 2 levels of Creating Artistry for Choral Conductors from the Indianapolis Children’s Choir at Butler University, and received her Kodaly from Capital University. Phyllis is married and has 2 sons that are FWCC alumni – each spending about 10 years of their lives in the choir.  She has 2 grandchildren that she’s hoping will be able to audition soon. She is also the Children’s Music Director at First Wayne Street United Methodist Church and a member of Heartland Sings! She is also the IMEA Area 2 Elementary Coordinator for the Circle The State With Song choir festival that is held at IPFW each February.  I guess you could say that she loves choir!

1 – How long have I been with the FWCC?  That’s a tricky question.  I started observing and assisting the directors in the late 90’s when my sons, Gabe and Conrad, were part of the choir.  I was fascinated by what the directors were able to accomplish with the singers. I asked then Artistic Director  Fred Meads if I could observe him to learn more. Eventually, he introduced me to Janet Ormiston, the director of the Chorister Choir. I asked her if I could be her assistant, and she agreed.  I assisted Mrs. Ormiston, typically on a volunteer basis, until she was ready to retire in 2006. I just happened to be completing my Music Education degree at IPFW in 2006, so Mr. Meads offered me the Chorister Choir Director position. I directed Chorister Choir until the Lyric Choir position became available.  I have been directing Lyric Choir since.

2 – What do I like best about working with the FWCC?  My favorite thing is meeting and working with the children.  I LOVE teaching them how to understand the music literacy part of the songs they are singing. Of course, there are many other wonderful experiences that FWCC provides… excellent staff to work with, tours, etc.

3 – What is one of your favorite FWCC memories? My favorite FWCC memories are of attending NCSICA.  I’ve had the opportunity to meet and interact with famous directors and composers, such as Rollo Dilworth, Mary Goetze, and Cynthia Bradford.  I have learned so much about working with children in a choral setting from these amazing musicians.
4 – How would you describe the culture of FWCC? Family. I feel very close to my fellow directors and feel like we all work together to accomplish FWCC’s goal of encouraging the love of singing in children. We develop relationships with the singers, and hopefully, they develop lasting friendships with each other.
5 – Why should a child join FWCC? I encourage my students to consider joining the FWCC because of the many benefits of being part of the organization. Aside from developing a deep love of singing, there is a very high standard of music education that the singers receive.  They also develop friendships that have been known to last into adulthood.
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