Fine arts are alive and well in the Springfield high school

Two young teachers pave the way for bigger and better goals in the music department.
Big changes and improvements continue to come to Springfield’s high school after two teachers prioritize bringing better music education to smaller schools.
Published: Feb. 14, 2023 at 6:20 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Minn. (KEYC) - Big changes and improvements continue to come to Springfield’s high school after two teachers prioritize bringing better music education to smaller schools.

“I believe that small schools deserve great music,” choral director Bailey Cords said. “So, I wanted to go to a small school and make an impact.”

“We make some music and just have a good time together- which has been great,” band director Erin Oberle added. “We’re growing in numbers, which has been awesome.”

When Cords and Oberle joined the Springfield music department a few years ago, they arrived with a mission to expand students’ passion for music by showing how fine arts are alive and growing in small schools.

And their students are seeing some big changes:

“Our music program has definitely grown in the last couple of years, which has been huge for us because it’s made us want to get better,” high school senior Jordyn Plater said. “I mean, we have so many new people in choir this year people who have never sang before.”

Both the Springfield high school choir and band have been traveling across the Midwest to perform with collegiate choirs in Minnesota, South Dakota, and beyond.

And both directors advocated for an updated auditorium, which the school’s administration happily completed.

“We are in such a good place right now,” Cords praised. “Honestly, we just got to keep where we’re at. There is so much room for our program to keep growing.”

Now, in a high school full of about 260 students, about half of those students are a part of the music department-

And it only keeps growing, which is why the directors have found creative ways to allow students to be a part of multiple activities:

“I think Springfield is unique in the sense that we have band and choir at the same time for high school band,” Oberle explained. “So we actually share like 30 kids. So, on Monday, Bailey will have all of his kids, and then, Wednesday, he’ll have them as well. And Tuesdays and Thursdays are my full band days.”

High school senior Jordyn Plaster has been involved in multiple extracurricular activities throughout high school, such as band, choir, national honors society, yearbook, the list goes on.

Despite it all, she continues to find time for the arts.

“I kind of feel like band is my escape from that because when you’re in the band room you’re there to play a band, " Plaster said. “There’s nothing else. Like, you play your pieces, you pick up your instrument, and you just don’t really have to worry about anything else.”

High school senior Sarah Kottke says that both band and choir help her get out of her shell, and after graduation, she plans to pursue a degree in musical theatre and education.

“I think being able to get up there in front of people puts you in a very vulnerable position and I think it allows you the opportunity to express yourself creatively,” student Sarah Kottke explained. “And it’s not something that’s easy to do. So, that really helps give people that extra push.”

For updates on upcoming performance, check out the Springfield music department Facebook page.