Utah Voices is excited to welcome a great new addition to our artistic staff – associate conductor Eric Noyes. Eric received his Bachelor of Music degree in choral education from Brigham Young University, and is currently pursuing a Masters of Music degree in music education from Central Washington University. He has been the associate conductor of the Sterling Singers since 2014 and teaches music and math at South Hills Middle School in Riverton, while maintaining a private piano studio. Eric and his wife Amanda have two young sons.
Has music always been a part of your life? What were your earliest musical influences?
I owe most of my love of music to my angel mother. She was always singing, playing the piano, and accompanying choirs and singers for all of my childhood years. She and I still regularly work together, whether we are finding music for each other or listening to each other’s performing groups.
I sang with a children’s choir and, at age four I earned my first solo singing “Me, I want a hula hoop,” in the Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas song. I got a taste of the spotlight and never wanted to leave. I took piano lessons from Anita Ream, who taught me the diligence, precision to detail, and commitment to artistry that music making requires. I further studied vocal music from Tami Van Dusen and Claudia Bigler who gave me my first opportunities to teach music in meaningful ways. I still seek their wisdom and advice for teaching strategies and repertoire choices.
What made you decide to teach music?
Some of my fondest memories from my school years came directly from being in music classes. I wanted to create those same experiences for students. I knew I wanted music to always be a part of my life so I found a way to make it a career as well as a hobby.
What’s it like teaching music to junior high school students? That’s an age group that some people might be scared spend that much time with.
It’s exciting to teach students who often have not had experiences creating meaningful music. It’s a joy to bring something so new to their lives. I try to embrace the changing voices, awkward puberty and budding romances. I am living proof to them that their awkwardness doesn’t last forever and that there is a chance their middle school choir crush could one day become their wife. As ninth graders, Amanda and I first held hands during a middle school choir festival trip—six years of marriage and two kids later, middle school choir is still a part of our life. I like to tease my students that their future spouse may be sitting in the room.
I understand that this is not the first time you have worked with Artistic Director Kelly DeHaan. How did you begin working together?
I was assigned to student teach at West Jordan High School with a choir teacher named Kelly DeHaan. We quickly became close as we realized our similarities in teaching styles and musical interests. Overall, I had the best student teaching experience I could have asked for. I had countless memorable musical experiences but I will never forget the day Kelly made me hold 40 helium balloons out the roof of his convertible while driving home with him from the party store.
What are you most looking forward in joining Utah Voices?
While teaching middle school, we work on a lot of beginning repertoire, so I am excited to sing and study more advanced literature. I am excited to work with such talented individuals who are committed to making quality choral music together.
What do you want Utah Voices singers and fans to know about you?
I’m a music-loving kid who loves to learn more about directing choirs. I’ve been lucky to work with fantastically talented people, after whom I’ve tried to model my teaching style. I’m excited to learn even more as I embrace this new opportunity to work with such an amazing group of singers.
And since we are preparing for Broadway Bingo, what is your favorite musical, and what is your favorite song from a musical?
The day before Amanda and I were married we listened to The Drowsy Chaperone in the car on our way from BYU to our home town. The show centers around a wedding, which made it especially appropriate for the occasion. Since then, this hilariously clever and witty show has been special for me. The show also has my favorite song, “I Am Aldolpho,” which is sung by an arrogant, self-proclaimed womanizer. It’s not a song that usually tops the lists of all-time favorites, but it sure is fun to sing and act. I probably enjoy it because the character is so opposite from who I truly am.