Schaeffer joins Spain Park as director of choirs

Published 1:36 pm Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Jim Schaeffer has joined Spain Park High School as the new director of choirs. (For the Reporter / Dawn Harrison)

Jim Schaeffer has joined Spain Park High School as the new director of choirs. (For the Reporter / Dawn Harrison)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

HOOVER—There’s a new face in the Spain Park High School choir department. After five years as the director of choirs at Hueytown High School, Jim Schaeffer has joined the SPHS faculty and taken the reins of the choir program.

Schaeffer received a degree in music education from the University of Alabama, where he was actively involved in numerous vocal groups. He brings with him extensive experience, including singing with the Birmingham Chamber Chorus and time on stage with the Red Mountain Theatre Company.

Schaeffer is currently working toward a master’s degree in choral music education from Florida State University and was on campus in Florida when he decided to apply for the SPHS job. Although he interviewed for the position with SPHS Principal Larry Giangrosso over Skype, he was well aware of Spain Park’s reputation before stepping on campus.

“Their reputation is something I’ve known about for a long time… the school is always top five in the state in every list,” Schaeffer said. “People here are the best at what they do.”

After just a few short weeks on the job, Schaeffer said he is already impressed with the roughly 60 students who comprise the Spain Park choir program.

“The students in (the choir program) are excellent,” Schaeffer said. “They’re super and they sound great.”

Spain Park’s choir program consists of a concert choir, a chamber choir, a show choir and a women’s ensemble. Schaeffer hopes to grow the program from 60 students to 160 in the coming year, adding he hopes to see experienced and first-time singers alike try choir.

“One of my goals here is to create a culture that is accepting to all students,” Schaeffer said. “I want to create a classroom environment that’s very accepting and welcoming.”

In class, choir students will not only learn to sing, they will also learn music theory, Schaeffer said, noting the importance of “music literacy.”

“Music is a language itself,” Schaeffer said. “Music literacy is a big thing… for students to become lifelong learners of music. If they know the language when they leave here, they can continue to speak the language.”

Schaeffer also hopes to increase the choir program’s visibility throughout the school, increasing the number of annual concerts from two to three and adding events such as singing valentines.

“I want us to get out more and get more exposure,” Schaeffer said. “I look forward to becoming involved in the school and becoming involved in the community.”