Choir teacher inspires herself through her surroundings


Photo by Beth Britton

Shana Fronsee, Staff Writer

From a very young age, one CMR teacher had always been interested in music. However, there was one person in her life that gave her the inspiration to be a choir teacher after it had been a hobby for the longest time. 

“What altered my course was my junior year of high school; we got a new choir teacher,”  C. M. Russell High School Performing Arts director Lynn Ryan said.  “She was amazing and inspiring. I became an aide for her and loved seeing the ins and outs of a choir program. It’s like I woke up one morning and just knew I was supposed to be a choir teacher.”

Ryan said she loves teaching choir, even if she never thought she was going to in the first place. Her favorite part about it is “teaching others how to find fulfillment and confidence through music.” 

She said she loves being able to show students how there will always be a blank canvas that slowly turns into some sort of art that comes to view and the integral parts of it. There was one memorable piece she will never forget, and that was one by a Renaissance composer Thomas Tallis. 

“The piece is titled “Spem in Alium” and is more commonly known as Tallis 40-part motet,” she said. “The song was composed for 8 choirs with 5 voices in each choir.” 

Her college choir at Pacific Lutheran University had 44 people, so most of them were able to sing their own part. She performed it with her choir in Sweden and Norway, singing in exquisite cathedrals. Her college director had her help him teach the piece as part of her conducting class before going on tour to the two countries.

There were many regrets she’s had in her life, and the one regret she had, however, she used to help her students while she taught. 

“I’m incredibly shy,” Ryan said. “I use that to try and help others see in themselves what I see in them, and I am able to share with my students that I too understand that they are nervous and scared,” she said.

Not only is there an outgoing side to Ryan, the one who always makes you laugh when you need one or the one who sometimes forgets what she’s doing when she sits in front of a piano, there’s an inspirational side to her. If there was one piece of advice she would give to her students, it’s to be yourself and that there is always someone better than you.

“If you achieve the highest level in your field, there will always be someone else trying to outdo you,” she said. “So with that being said, live your life the best way you can imagine. If you are passionate about something, do it, and stop comparing yourselves to everyone around you. I think we as individuals are often our own worst critics.”