In this episode, I “Zoomed” in to the choral classroom of Steve Hickman at Highland High School in Gilbert, AZ. I had the privilege of speaking with Steve and his students in the Advanced Vocal Ensemble about a variety of things related to “making choir happen” over the last year during a pandemic, as well as what it meant to these kids, in their OWN words, to be able to make music together. You will also hear open and honest, unfiltered teens talking about what being in a close knit choir family means to them. I continue to find it interesting hearing about choir from the singer/student perspective. It’s why we do this after all. So, tune in and be a fly on the wall, and as always, let me know what you think!
From Steve Hickman about Highland High School Choral Music: Highland High School is a public high school in Gilbert, Az with a little over 3,000 students. Our choir program includes 200 students, with five choirs and two teachers, one of which also teaches half her day at our feeder junior high. The choirs include two entry level ensembles separated into treble and bass, an advanced women’s ensemble, an auditioned large mixed ensemble (“Concert Choir”), and a small mixed auditioned group (Advanced Vocal) that studies chamber/vocal jazz music (though due to the peculiarities of this year we only did jazz last quarter). Our first quarter was online, second fully in person, and we are currently in a hybrid model (half the alphabet on alternating days).
Steve Hickman is currently in his 14th year teaching choral music in the Gilbert District. A native of Arizona, Mr. Hickman grew up in Gilbert and is an alumnus of Highland High School. Mr. Hickman was also the director of choirs at Highland Junior High for nine years and opened Gilbert’s newest High School, Campo Verde, in 2009. He holds an undergraduate degree in Music Education from Northern Arizona University and is currently pursuing a graduate degree from Arizona State University. Choirs under his direction have performed at numerous regional, state, and national competitions/festivals, and consistently earn superior ratings.
Mr. Hickman sings professionally in the Phoenix area, including four seasons with the Grammy award-winning Phoenix Chorale, Arizona’s only professional choral ensemble, and has served as tenor soloist at Victory Lutheran Church in Mesa for the past five years. He has held state office and leadership positions with the American Choral Director’s Association (AzACDA) and Arizona Choral Educators (ACE) organizations and is currently the Vice President for Jazz and Show Choirs for ACE. Mr. Hickman is active as a choral clinician/adjudicator around Arizona.