Passion behind choir directing

Senior Jay Teamer pursues dream job


Senior Jay Teamer directs the men's choir. Courtesy of Kimberly Teamer.

The sound of a bongo echoes throughout the auditorium as the men in the choir step side to side singing the Yoruba song, “Betelehemu.” The director moves his arms with the rhythm of the voices. He guides his steps with the choir and as they clap, the director claps; they are in sync with the rhythm.

With a love for music, senior Jay Teamer will be pursuing choir directing and would like to come back and teach for Lewisville ISD.

“[Choir directors are] responsible for educating the youth about music and how it works,” Teamer said. “I decided to become a choir director when I realized music is probably the reason why I’m still alive to this day.”

After three months of preparation, Teamer had the opportunity to direct the men’s choir in the UIL competition. He was the one teaching the men their song, so choir director Steven Decrow let him lead them during the competition in early April.

“I think it’s pretty awesome that I get to [direct them],” Teamer said. “I don’t know a lot of people who do that – especially [from] other schools. But it’s really nice to have a director who kind of helps you go toward that kind of career and helps you along the way like, ‘You can do this,’ ‘Try this out’ and gives you tips on how to be better and that kind of stuff before you go to college.”

Teamer will be attending Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. He chose between SFA and the University of Houston, but SFA had a home away from home feeling and his parents loved the university. Both universities offered him a scholarship, but a difference of $4,000 finalized his decision.

“I was fine with both of them,” Teamer said. “I said that it would really depend on who gave me more scholarship money and SFA gave me more scholarship money, so I decided to go to SFA.”

A best friend of Teamer’s is senior Parker Webster who he attended Valley Ridge Elementary with. This past year, they sang in the same choir class so their friendship stayed strong through high school.

“I think that he would be the best choir director around,” Webster said. “It’s always been a passion of his. It’s meant to be. That’s his calling, being [a] choir director.”

Senior Andrew Pfeffer met Teamer at Lewisville High School’s 2015 musical, “Cinderella.” The two got along really well and became best friends.

“He’s just got 60 different traits that make him who he is,” Pfeffer said. “He can be super funny but he also can hold a really serious conversation with you. He’s just got really good traits and he’s easy to work with. So, he’ll be able to [direct] really well.”

In middle school, Teamer played in the school band and sang in the school choir. Singing and playing an instrument at the same time aided in his passion for music. His family has also helped him in his passion for music by playing music in the house.

“I think anyone who has ever grown up in a black house knows music is the soul of the house,” Teamer said. “You wake up on Sunday morning [and] there’s usually gospel music playing or [on] Saturday mornings, there’s some R&B playing.”

Lori Sager was Teamer’s choir teacher in Minnesota during his eighth grade year. She is his role model and she mentored him in his college search. She helped him with the process of preparing for the auditions, giving advice and praying for him.

“She’s wonderfully talented and has such a beautiful heart,” Teamer said. “There’s just some people on this earth that are just pure like we don’t deserve. That’s how I feel about Mrs. Sager. She’s an amazing accompanist. I would say she’s been a big inspiration in my life, because she’s always encouraged me when I’m down or needed help.”

Throughout his lifetime, Teamer has moved around the states four times. Although they never stayed in one place too long, his joy for music stayed with the support of his parents.

“They’ve always been very supportive of me ranting around the house about something or taking lots and lots of time away from family [by] being in my room dealing with music,” Teamer said. “All in all, they don’t stop encouraging me to keep going when stuff gets hard; they’re my backbone.”