by Jake Siewert
“Set, stars! Set, stars! At dawn, I will win! I will win! I will win!” says the final line of Puccini’s famous opera “Nessun Dorma.” Although this piece gained its initial popularity as an Italian soccer anthem, its conquering spirit lives right here at Whatcom Community College, through choir teacher Carol Reed- Jones.
Reed- Jones is the teacher of Choir 165, a class that takes place in Heiner but if not for the very thick walls, could be heard all over the school.
The room fills with harmonizing voices and beaming student smiles. Reed-Jones has an army of adoring students from all up and down the musical scale.
Krissy Sweum, 26, is a soprano and even though this is her first time in a long while being in a choir, she finds that Reed-Jones’ class is the soundtrack of her day.
“I haven’t sang in seven years,” Sweum said “I’m overwhelmed with happiness, and it’s beautiful to be in here.”
Reed-Jones grew up in Southern California, taking piano, gymnastic, tap dance, and ballet lessons as a child.
“I wasn’t necessarily good about practicing piano,” she said, “but I sure did love it.”
Reed-Jones went on to study music at University of British Columbia, and Douglas College, then came to Western Washington University to study music instruction.
She must have learned her craft well, because she is passing her knowledge onto her students and they are nothing but appreciative.
Marcus Cowles, 45, is a bass and took Choir 165 in the fall quarter as well as winter. His admiration for his teacher is evident even from the smile on his face as he recounts what this class means to him.
“I appreciate the friendliness and forthrightness,” he said “We have such little time in class but she makes herself available at any time.”
Though she has already has a master’s in music history, Reed-Jones said she never wants to stop learning. She is now studying to get her doctorate in Music Education from the prestigious Boston University School of music.
You can see her diverse abilities from her body language. As she manages to play the piano with one hand and use the other to conduct her class of virtuous voices through beautifully composed and crafted melodies.
“There’s that moment in teaching when they make that beautiful sound,” she said. “its so poignant, it gives me chills down my back.”
Reed-Jones enthusiasm for choir extends to pairing her class with Western’s own group of 160 choir students to perform at the Chinese Culture festival on March 3 at the Mt. Baker Theater. Complete with accompaniment from the Whatcom Symphony, this performance is not to be missed, said Reed-Jones.
“It’s all about creating a community,” she said “We’re all working together toward giving the world music.”
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