New Traditions

BURNET — Burnet High School choir director Lynda Hamby has found a home. And it’s one she’s not planning to leave, she says.

“I’m staying,” she said in her high school choir room. “This program has had several directors for the past four years, but I’m here to stay.”

 

It’s something that might just be music to her choir students’ ears as they prepare for a busy year. As the choir director, Hamby oversees both the high school and middle school programs. Though it means lots of work, she said it’s something she relishes because she can begin getting students excited about choir in sixth grade.

“It’s something, hopefully, I can build on all the way up,” Hamby said.

What she’s found since coming to Burnet this summer is the students strive for quality and they have a strong work ethic.

“These are great students,” she said. “These students are so talented. It’s not just their talent, but their desire to work.”

At the high school, Hamby teaches two classes — Choir 1 and Honor’s Choir. 

In Choir 1, the students are learning some of the basics while developing their voices, she said. 

In Honor’s Choir, Hamby continues to help the students develop their voices and skills, but also presents more challenges. 

“I think some students come in and are somewhat surprised at how much work (choir) is. But it does take work to do this well, especially at the level I want them to get,” she said. “And the students are putting in the work.”

Beyond the regular class period, Hamby said students come in after class for sectionals and individual work. 

Some of the hard work recently paid off when 13 of the students competed in the first round of the Texas Music Educators Association’s all-state choir selection at Round Rock High School. Four of the Burnet choir members advanced to the next round — regional choir auditions.

Those students are Caleb Blakeney, John Frias, Lucas Bailey and Carson Lewis.

“All of the kids have put in a tremendous amount of work, and this (four students advancing) is just the start for us,” Hamby said. “We’re building a program here.”

With 17 students in Honor’s Choir and 14 in Choir 1, Hamby said the program has a good base. While the current enrollment could be larger, Hamby said sometimes it’s not all about the numbers.

“I’m looking for quality, not necessarily quantity,” she said. “But I wouldn’t mind more students. There are a lot of students out there who might not have considered choir in the past. Music education is so rewarding for the students.”

Hamby said that choir and music education help improve students’ reading and math abilities.

But the thing Hamby really loves about choir is when the students figure something out.

“I love watching their eyes light up when they learn something and realize what they can do,” she said. 

“The thing is music isn’t about us, we’re just the instruments. And (the choir program) isn’t about me, it’s about the kids. I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do.”