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Winter Park / Maitland Observer Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018 1 year ago

Alex Glover takes Edgewater High’s chorus program to new heights

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As the director of choirs at Edgewater High, Glover is helping students find their voice as he revives the school’s music program.
by: Troy Herring Sports Editor

It’s just before noon at Edgewater High School, and Alex Glover has already been working his musical magic.

This period, Glover is working with his mixed choir, comprising  a diverse group of young vocalists.

They warm up, work through their songs, and get guidance from the ever gentle hand of Glover — who does his best to help make each and every student better than they were the day before.

Although it’s just another day of classes for many, the students in Glover’s class are doing more than just learning to hone their musical chops — they are enjoying themselves as they become a family.

For Glover, seeing his students “get it” as they grow as musicians and develop into a cohesive unit is what it’s all about. It’s why he chose his career path.

“When it all falls together — they get the text, they get the music, they get the community aspect of doing it together, and they get the vulnerability of opening up to each other and to their audience — there is no greater feeling,” Glover said. “Being in the conductor’s chair — there is nothing better than to watch it happen.”

 

LONGTIME PASSION

That passion for music has been a part of Glover’s life since he was a child, and it has helped the choir program grow at a drastic rate since he first arrived at Edgewater back in 2012.

Before Glover came to the Sunshine State to develop the musical minds of students, he spent his early life in his native St. Louis, where he began his musical journey in the fifth grade.

He participated in choir throughout middle school and high school, but he never intended to make music a full-time job — that was until his junior year of high school when he made the Missouri All-State Choir.

“The conductor we had that year really inspired me to want to continue and do this further,” Glover said. “I’ve always known my entire life that I was going to be a teacher — the subject just changed from year to year — and so when enough people said, ‘Hey you’re good at this — do this,’ that’s when I sort of stuck with music.”

Glover took as many music classes as he could, all while taking voice lessons with a man who would inspire him to attend his alma mater — the Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey. 

The move would prove to be an important part of his growth as a musician, as it opened him to newer ideas of what music meant to him.

“It was the three most transformative years of my life and my musical career, because I was able to be challenged every day — not just as a musician, but as a human and as a future educator,” Glover said. “In fact it really pushed me to expand my thought process with a lot of things — musically, educationally, and pedagogically.” 

Before he finished his bachelor’s degrees in music and music education in 2012, Glover unknowingly made his first step to landing at Edgewater High School to teach.

 

FLORIDA-BOUND

During his junior year, Glover traveled with the choir to Florida to do a two-week tour around the state — which included a stop at Freedom High School in Orlando. 

There, Glover befriended the choir teacher and asked about doing an internship at Freedom. The following spring, Glover was back in Florida, where one day the director of fine arts for OCPS and watched him teach.

To say the director was impressed may be a massive understatement, as two weeks later Glover had an interview for the open position at Edgewater. The following day Glover found himself with a job offer that he couldn’t turn down.

Part of the reason he took the job, Glover said, was that he was basically starting with a clean slate — considering the music program was waning in attendance.

“I was getting to make it the way I wanted to make it, versus taking over an already established program and trying to maintain what was already in place,” Glover said. “I could just sort of make it my own.”

When he took over, there were only 10 kids in the choir program, but in his first year, the guidance department was able to pad the classes, giving him 40 kids across three-classes.

The classes were small, but there were perks to that, which particularly came in the form of more one-on-one teaching — something Glover loved.

But over the course of the next few years, things changed — the numbers swelled from the original 40 to 100 in his second year and 200 in this third. Now, as he is well into his sixth year at the school, Glover’s choir program consists of eight different programs, which includes 220 students.

Many around him have asked what has caused such a massive growth in the span of just a few years, which Glover said came down to one simple thing: showing students that he cared.

“I was doing everything I could to make sure that these kids recognized a couple of things — one, that I cared about them and two, that I cared about my job, because if the teacher can illustrate a passion for what they’re doing, the kids are going to buy in a lot faster,” Glover said.

Troy Herring is the sports editor at the West Orange Times and Windermere Observer. He is a graduate of the University of Mount Olive (BS '12) and the University of Alabama (MA '16)....

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