HULL—For Lindsey Ver Meer, her role as choir teacher at Western Christian High School is about more than simply teaching students how to sing.
“I think a lot about how God cared about music enough that He gave us an instrument that’s part of our own body,” said the 21-year-old Hull native.
“That just shows a really big responsibility to show students how to use that gift, how to take care of their voice and how to use it right now but also as they go into the future for the rest of their lives.”
Ver Meer started working as interim choir teacher in the fall while the Christian school was seeking to fill the full-time opening. However, she recently was tapped to step into the role starting in the 2022-23 academic year after she graduates from Dordt University in Sioux Center in May.
She is no stranger to Western Christian or its choir program either. Ver Meer, formerly Zuidema, graduated from the high school in 2018 and took choir classes with the former teacher, Darren Van’t Hul.
“I’m really excited to continue a lot of things that he grew in the choir program, and I’m also really excited to see the ways we can grow to continue to serve our students here,” she said.
After she finished high school, Ver Meer knew she wanted to remain in the area and pursue a career as a choir teacher. When she learned of the opening at Western Christian following Van’t Hul’s departure, she reached out to the school’s head administrator to learn more and eventually accepted the interim role.
She has divided her time this academic year as a student teacher at Western Christian and Rock Valley Elementary. She is in Hull in the morning and teaches kindergarten, first and fifth grade in Rock Valley in the afternoon.
“It’s been really fun to be split back and forth and have two really different learning experiences,” Ver Meer said.
She starts her mornings at Western Christian before classes by leading one-on-one voice lessons or working with small groups. She then conducts practice with the older Concert Choir students, followed by rehearsals with the younger Cantus Choir singers.
“After that happens, every day looks a little bit different, which I really like,” Ver Meer said.
She is looking forward to becoming a full-time teacher at Western Christian since it will give her even more time to work with students and hone their singing skills in small-group or individual settings.
The concert and cantus choirs each have about 50 members, which Ver Meer noted is more students than in a typical classroom.
“There’s a lot of learning you can do in a big ensemble setting, but there’s also a lot that you can’t do: working with individual students and their individual voices, and what they will use their individual voices for outside of the classroom and outside of a big ensemble context,” she said.
Ver Meer also directs the school’s extracurricular choir — the Chamber Singers — which she described as a “service-based, outward-focused group.”
Since January, the Chamber Singers have performed at several Christian Reformed churches throughout N’West Iowa. The group will travel to Minneapolis at the end of April to perform at various venues, such as a minor league baseball game, nursing homes and a Christian Reformed church.
The Chamber Singers will conclude their 2022 tour with a 6 p.m. performance Sunday, May 8, at First Christian Reformed Church in Hull.
When it comes to her favorite aspect about teaching at Western Christian, Ver Meer said it is being able to work with the students.
“The students are amazing. You can really tell that Western’s community — from the teachers, the staff, the parents — that people here really, really care about these students and helping them be educated about how to be disciples and how to use their gifts and their community and to serve God.”