Irmo High choral director travels to Asia

Irmo High School International School for the Arts Choral Director Frank Turner spendt part of his summer break teaching overseas.

“Any experience is a good experience especially teaching and getting in front of different students from different cultures and backgrounds,” Turner said.

He took part in a teaching opportunity in Asia during his summer break.

“I traveled to Asia for a choral festival and teaching activities in Tainan, Taiwan,” Turner said. “I was the choral clinician for the festival Voices of Light. For three days, I worked with middle and high school students on choral performance techniques, aural skills and music literacy. The event was culminated by a concert.”

Turner was given the opportunity to travel to Asia because of his affiliation with the chamber group Limited Time Only (LTO). LTO is a chamber choir of music educators, singers, and graduate students in and around Columbia, South Carolina. The choir, which rehearses intermittently during the academic term, performs the repertoire of contemporary and twentieth century composers and music from the renaissance and early baroque periods. The purpose of the ensemble is to provide a musical outlet for musicians who give of themselves at a high level every day.

“One of our members is from Tainan, Taiwan, and he built a partnership with the festival and he also served as our piano accompanist at Irmo High School last year,” Turner said. “I knew him personally so he invited me to work with the students.”

Turner traveled with a translator who helped him during rehearsals with students, but many of the students spoke some English and could understand basic concepts.

“It was a thrill to be asked to work with the amazing students in Taiwan, but they all wanted to know about my own students at Irmo High School. The majority of these students have one rehearsal a week when school is in session. They were all envious to know I meet with my chorus students 2-3 times a week, as well as after school rehearsals. This experience served as a great reminder of how fortunate I am to work with the chorus students at Irmo High.”

The remainder of his trip was spent performing with LTO.

“I enjoy teaching, I enjoy rehearsals and I love choral music, so being able to travel abroad and share my passion for choral music and also get to do it with some of my colleagues in the surrounding areas was really fantastic and a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Turner said.

Irmo High School principal Dr Robin Hardy added, “As a teacher in our International Baccalaureate Programme, Mr. Turner demonstrates the importance of being knowledgeable in his craft and open-minded in his global perspective. These character traits are a part of the IB Learner Profile and exemplify his calling as a teacher. Our students are fortunate to learn from him, and our arts programs are better because of him.”