Special Features Editor
While the Freeman family was sad to see Kristin Batson leave the music department, the school has gladly welcomed new Choral Director Aaron Todd. As a part of his new role, Mr. Todd teaches a number of classes at Freeman, including Concert Choir, Women’s Chorus, Harmony in Motion, Rebel Alliance, and Festival Choir. However, this is not the first time Mr. Todd has taken on this position. He first began teaching in Richmond Public Schools, teaching middle school choral music at Lucille M. Brown Middle School. Afterwards, he taught Chorus & Orchestra at Tuckahoe Middle School before making his way to Freeman.
While most of his day consists of teaching his students just the same as any other teacher at Freeman, Mr. Todd noted the extra facets that come with teaching music. “Part of what makes it different is that each class I have is very different – they all sing their own music, we approach class activities in different ways, they’re different sizes,” Mr. Todd said.
He also reflected how each of his classes seem to have their own distinct character and energy, which means that his teaching will shift depending on the ensemble he is working with. “I’m always thinking about meeting the students where they are and shepherding them to where we want to be in the end, and this looks different in each ensemble,” said Mr. Todd.
Outside of teaching classes, Mr. Todd also spends time scheduling morning and afternoon rehearsals, taking ensembles to sing in the community, planning concerts, and coordinating student participation in area events such as District Chorus or All-VA Chorus. However, his favorite part of his job is getting to work with the students. “It’s a privilege to be able to provide an environment in which students can grow both as musicians and as people – that’s what made me want to be a music teacher,” he said.
Mr. Todd also feels as though his new position at Freeman is helping him grow. He has noted a number of discrepancies between running middle and high school choral programs. He says, “It’s been a lot of work, and a lot of learning on the job, but it’s been a great experience so far.”
Freeman junior Yasmin Lopez also commented on the new dynamic of the schools choral program. “The transition from one teacher to the next was definitely a struggle, but I’ve really enjoyed getting to know Mr. Todd and making new friends through Festival and show choir.”
Even though it’s only his first year here, Mr. Todd already has some goals lined up for his programs. His biggest goal is that the program is able to continue to provide opportunities for students to have positive experiences in music. “If it were up to me, every student in the school would be required to participate in music…but of course I’d say that, I’m a music teacher,” he said.
Mr. Todd has also found Freeman to be a particularly welcoming and supportive place, and emphasized the importance of such sentiments in the student body. “It is important to me that every student at Freeman feels like they have a home at our school. If you’re looking for a place to belong, come join us in the Chorus room,” he said.