MEEKER I Jeff Hemingson, the new music director for Barone Middle School and Meeker High School, made his debut at the winter music concert at the MHS auditorium on Dec. 17 with a performance of challenging and intriguing compositions.
Selections included traditional holiday music by renowned composer Leroy Anderson and a work titled the “John Muir Suite.” This composition is dedicated to the renowned 19th-century naturalist and conservator of Yosemite National Park.
These and many other works were performed by the Barone Middle School sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade bands, the Meeker High School Band, the Meeker High School Jazz Band and the newly organized Meeker High School Choir.
Hemingson said he was “delighted to be a faculty member of the Meeker School District and to work with the very gifted and talented student musicians in both schools.”
He is a graduate of Western State Colorado University with a bachelor’s degree in music and a master’s degree in music in vocal performance from the University of Denver.
Hemingson taught music for five years at Norwood and Leadville, Colo., before accepting the faculty position in Meeker. He said his career choice as a choral and instrumental music educator originally was “inspired by the great choir and band directors I had in high school.”
Hemingson has performed with prestigious choirs at various universities and worked with renowned choral music educators from many such institutions.
When asked about his vision for the music programs in the Meeker schools, Hemingson said, “The Meeker community is blessed with many youth and adults with remarkable musical talents and an enthusiasm for music and performance that is uncommon in small rural communities.”
He envisions growing the choral music and instrumental music programs by increasing student participation and, over time, to expand the size and versatility of the middle school and high school music organizations.
Hemingson and some of his MHS choir students participated in the Meeker Community Choir’s performance of the Christmas Cantata “On This Shining Night” on Dec. 14.
Hemingson emphasized the vital importance of student participation in performing arts programs such as music, drama and fine arts. He said that “numerous academic studies have proven that performing arts participation utilizes, develops and directly enhances neurological efficiency and expands performance in many academic core curriculum tracks.”
“These disciplines include science, technology, engineering, math, composition, history and even athletics in order to develop self-confidence, leadership skills, poise, articulation, coordination, life skills and values,” he said. Moreover, he said, “These programs provide students with life-long avocational appreciation of cultural paths, enjoyment and open opportunities for scholarships and admission to prestigious higher education institutions.”
Increasing numbers of students pursue performing arts careers in theater, motion pictures and television and technical careers in lighting, sound, production, script writing and a vast array of entertainment opportunities.
Hemingson was recently elected to the board of directors of the Meeker Arts and Cultural Council.