Utah trainer named to prestigious list of songs educators

Barbara Merkley

Alec Powell has been fascinated by seem for as lengthy as he can recall.

“I’d listen to an individual participate in the piano and my 4-12 months-aged brain would check out to go dwelling and make those seems — it’s sort of just been without end,” explained Powell, a choir trainer at Mountain Ridge Junior Large School in Highland.

This fascination compelled him to abandon his primary route of turning into a mechanical engineer in college or university, opting rather to pursue a career in new music.

“I required some variety of outlet, so I figured I’ll just take a choir class,” Powell stated. The class through his freshman yr of college or university was the initial time he’d ever taken an organized choir class.

Right after having it, Powell was in enjoy. So a lot so that he didn’t declare a big. So considerably for engineering.

“Nothing sparks joy like tunes does, I figured I needed to chase that joy for as extensive as attainable.” — Alec Powell

Powell noticed that the songs division experienced a scholarship accessible. He used for the scholarship — and acquired it — placing his musical journey in movement.

“I kind of just fell into this. Nothing at all sparks joy like songs does. I figured I wished to chase that joy for as extended as possible,” he mentioned of getting a tunes teacher. “I like the independence that education makes it possible for as a musician. There’s nevertheless the procedural part of getting a trainer, but it also leaves me a great deal of freedom to be expressive.”

Powell has certainly capitalized on this freedom. He has been next his passion for music to the crescendo that was becoming named to Yamaha’s 40 Under 40, a listing recognizing superb new music educators below 40 many years aged who are building a variation by expanding and strengthening their songs packages.


Grace Sutton, McKaylee Johnson, Elizabeth Grygla, and Kaylee Augustus chat with Mountain Ridge Junior Superior choir teacher Alec Powell, in Highland on Monday, Feb. 28, 2022.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret Information

Yamaha recognized lecturers throughout the state who have action, bravery, creativity and advancement features.

David Mower has been the principal at Mountain Ridge Junior Significant for just a calendar year, but mentioned Powell’s effects on the faculty and the students he teaches has been evident.

“Mr. Powell, he’s sort of the greatest of all the worlds that you hope from a trainer,” Mower reported. “Even aside from choir, when (college students) are having difficulties with other points, they like to converse to Mr. Powell to get his advice. Can not say enough excellent about him.”

Powell observed out that he was named to the prestigious record even though giving a take a look at and claimed that it “didn’t come to feel serious.”

He was nominated for the listing after he talked about it to Katy Bigham, a pal and English trainer at Mountain Ridge Junior Significant.

“I was examining some of the profiles for the reason that they experienced them up from past year and I imagined, ‘You know, he’s a truly terrific in good shape for this award,’” Bigham said.

Bigham nominated him for the record but did not think her nomination would garner considerably notice due to the sheer range of submissions Yamaha obtained. Nevertheless when she found that Powell had been named to the list, she wasn’t amazed.

“I was definitely pleased that he gained the award since he was so deserving of it,” she said.

As another person who works underneath the exact same roof as Powell, Bigham stated she sees illustrations of his excellence every day.

“One of his No. 1 strengths is link. He is so unbelievable with connecting to the college students,” Bigham reported, noting the issue that arrives with teaching center school students.

“He teaches about 300 college students, but he memorizes their names and he is aware of the points that they like, what they dislike and he is aware what is going on with them as considerably as extracurriculars go. But he also does test-ins with them,” she reported. “He’ll check out a Chromebook cart that we can get from the university and he’ll do a Google look at-in and they can demonstrate how they’re experience. He’s been performing this his total career, and he changes his training based on how his learners are and in which they are at.”


Mountain Ridge Junior Significant choir instructor Alec Powell will work with pupils in the live performance singers course at the school in Highland on Monday, Feb. 28, 2022.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret Information

Inspite of the lofty accomplishment, Powell doled out the credit score to the a lot of people who have influenced him all over his musical journey.

“This is just a end result and a homage to all the astounding educators all over below,” he stated. “I went to university about listed here and had some remarkable audio academics expanding up. I figured out from all of them and I’m form of just a mishmash of all the things that I have experienced up to this position.”

In the classroom, it’s apparent that Powell’s infatuation with new music is not only felt, but embraced by the learners he teaches. One could easily error the Mountain Ridge Junior High concert singers team for a choir far much better than is commonly located at the junior superior stage. They audio excellent and they have the accolades to back it up as effectively.

“We’ve accomplished a great deal this yr in conditions of higher musical excellence,” Powell stated.

His singers have carried out at the junior higher state honor choir as effectively as the Utah chapter of the American Choral Directors Association’s fall conference.

“Each time (the) group performs, we get optimistic input. Persons who are not even associated in the university — they’re from Salt Lake or they are from Ogden — they’ve witnessed the choir and they see his interaction and it strikes them as a person who’s good with the kids,” Mower said.

When asked about his training model, “chaotically good” came to mind for Powell.

“Structure will make sense and framework (is) essential, but I’m not a idiot to know that these are junior higher little ones and 70 minutes is a prolonged time to be anyplace just doing work — it’s arduous,” Powell said.

To battle this rigor, Powell has embodied a playful, yet down-to-enterprise fashion that does not stifle the creativeness or persona of his college students.

“I like to shake issues up. I like to not come to feel (that) I’m so rigid (that) it can make the course unfun,” Powell mentioned.


Mountain Ridge Junior Higher choir teacher Alec Powell is effective with learners in the live performance singers class at the faculty in Highland on Monday, Feb. 28, 2022.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret Information

His college students without doubt really feel supported, as well. At 1 position during a new exercise, Powell appeared at the part he was working with and explained, “Sing with the assurance I have in you.”

At the finish of the working day (or the live performance), Powell’s target is not to craft phenomenal musicians, but phenomenal human beings.

“I often want to have them go away better than when they walked in,” Powell said.

He additional, “There’s these a pull in this era in which they have to be the best, they have to be No. 1 and it’s like, ‘No you really don’t, often you can just have pleasurable.’”

At the coronary heart of all that Powell’s learners execute in the auditorium is the hope that they will be ready to keep a “level-headed standpoint on life.”

Regardless of remaining named to the prestigious Yamaha listing, Powell nonetheless senses home to develop and enhance as an educator.

“I sense like I’m a much better educator than when this was introduced and I hope that a month from now I’m a far better educator than I was today. I normally want to be progressing ahead,” Powell reported.

“I don’t assume that accolades necessarily outline accomplishment, but I do believe in a regular push upward.”


Mountain Ridge Junior Higher choir trainer Alec Powell will work with college students in the live performance singers course at the college in Highland on Monday, Feb. 28, 2022.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret Information

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