Carmel High School choir teacher Ann Conrad built a lasting legacy
By Amanda Foust
Carmel High School has experienced significant growth since the late 1970s in all areas, including the performing arts. And Carmel High School’s own Ann Conrad has played a significant role in the programs’ development.
But the school’s choral director and performing arts teacher is retiring at the end of the school year after 38 years of influence.
After being hired right out of college, Conrad said there were 16, 18 and 30 students in each choir her first year with CHS. Now, there are more than 500 students involved in the choral department.
“The principal (at the time, Dale E. Graham) was a supporter for everything at the school, especially the arts.” Conrad said. “The administration gave us an open door to grow. They gave us the permission that we needed.”
Since then, the program has been growing and earning more success with each year.
Some of Conrad’s favorite accomplishments include producing musicals and putting on shows and the Holiday Spectacular. That’s not to mention the performances in Europe, California, the Caribbean and many more places around the world.
“For me, personally, the biggest pleasure I have is that not all the emphasis is on the top groups. We have seen quality in all our other groups, and all of our groups are special,” she said. “Everyone’s voices are beautiful and everyone is proud of what they do from freshman to the most advanced.”
And it wasn’t just the students who did all the learning in Conrad’s classroom. She said even she learning discipline, time management and organizational skills.
“I learned how to teach by working with amazing teachers. I learned a lot about music like technical things they never teach you in college.” She said, “I learned everything you learn at your first teaching job, but I just kept going at the same place.”
Her shoes will be difficult to fill, but for anyone willing to try she has some advice.
“Try to find out what a special place CHS is. It will take a little time because you do have to look past your own classes, but learn what the department and the school has to offer.”