The New Generation of Choral Educators

New choir teachers look to build upon the legacy left by the retired Cahalans
Conducting during the Veterans Day program, choir teacher Emily Brooke keeps the choir on pace during their song.
Conducting during the Veterans Day program, choir teacher Emily Brooke keeps the choir on pace during their song.
Vasan Nomany

After 41 years of teaching, LHS choir teachers Tim and Susan Cahalan retired at the end of the 2022-2023 school year. On Aug. 9, 2023, students and staff welcomed new choir directors Emily Brooke and Angela Ticen. They follow the long legacy of success left by the Cahalans.

“I really didn’t have much of an expectation I would say,” Brooke said. “I’m a really open-minded person, and I know that I have my own beliefs and my own methods, and so does Ms. Ticen. So, we kind of didn’t come in with an expectation like ‘Oh, this is going to be easy,’ or ‘This is going to be hard,’ because they had a really, really amazing foundation here, and so now we’re just building on that.”

The choir students have responded well to the change in leadership.

“I attributed to the kids’ willingness to try new things,” Ticen said. “They’ve all been very respectful and eager to follow some more modern and younger instructors.”

Ticen and Brooke both pick a myriad of different songs from their respective repertoires in the choirs but meld together nicely.

“We work fabulously together,” Brooke said. “I love working with her. She’s a fabulous partner, an amazing pianist, an amazing person. She is my work wife. We’re very goofy together. We have the same beliefs when it comes to music and how we teach music. Even though we’re different people, we come together with that knowledge in the purpose of why we’re here and why we do what we do.”

During the Veterans Day program, choir teacher Angela Ticen plays the musical accompaniment as the choir sings while choir teacher Emily Brooke directs the choir. Later in the program, Ticen and Brooke switched roles. (Vasan Nomany)

Brooke and Ticen both have new ideas for the future of the music program. Ticen is jumping at the opportunity to begin an extracurricular men’s choir, the BerryTones.

“I’m starting a men’s choir next semester, which is one of my big goals,” Ticen said. “I’d love to make it so it’s not an extracurricular choir, but it’s like a class. I’d also love to add some kind of dual-credit music courses that can contribute to preparing kids to study music after high school since we have a lot of student interest in music education and music performance after high school.”

Brooke’s goal is for students to reach their full potential.

“It’s my goal, also Ms. Ticen’s goal, to help you reach your full potential as an individual, but also to help everyone reach their full potential as people and as musicians,” Brooke said. “So, our goal is to do just that, to reach your full potential and to really see what this group and the people in this room can do.”

Brooke would love to see the department grow.

“We’ve talked about a men’s choir, a women’s choir,” Brooke said. “Ms. Ticen has talked about a guitar class, and stuff like that. So, just creating more and more opportunities for you to be challenged, for students to get a taste of different things. So yeah, that’s our goal. To give you as many options and opportunities as possible.”

Brooke’s journey towards music began with a diagnosis.

“When I was really little, I was diagnosed with Epilepsy and the medication that I was on really kind of messed me up,” Brooke said. “So, I didn’t trust people. I only really trusted family members and the people closest to me. It got to the point where I couldn’t go to public school. So, I was homeschooled for a little bit, for six years. That’s half of my primary school career.”

“That moment when things start to click, and you’re not learning the music as much as you are enjoying it.”

— Angela Ticen

Music was a part of what pulled her back into public school.

“My 8th-grade year, I decided to go back to public school and take a choir class,” Brooke said. “I also joined musical theater. I was dancing. I fell in love with dancing, music and performance. They helped me come out of that shell. There was a point where I became really successful at all three, and I was like ‘I want to do this as a career.’ I hope that I can also be an outlet like music was for me. Again, to be like that tool for people to reach their full potential and figure out who they are.”

A  highlight for Ticen is the moment when students excel at the music they sing. 

“That moment when things start to click, and you’re not learning the music as much as you are enjoying it,” Ticen said. “You just see that the kids are enjoying it, and it’s more fun to listen to. You get to see kids looking at each other and smiling and enjoying themselves, moving a little bit, and you’ll have kids who request songs that you pick. That’s a good feeling. Hearing people sing as they leave, too, singing in the hallways. There’s a lot of things I love about my job. Those are just the highlights.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to LHS Magpie
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Logansport High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to LHS Magpie
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All LHS Magpie Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *