Martin sees future for choir program

Talent and energy of instructor should put music program on the map
Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2017 - 7:23pm

When students of Larry Martin were asked to describe him in one word, words like passionate, driven, supportive, encouraging, dedicated, hardworking, leader and kind were all used to describe the new choral director of Utah State University Eastern.

To say that Martin has a love of music and choir, is an understatement. He loves everything about it, from the fundamentals, to the history of it. He directs both of the choirs on campus; the concert choir as well as the chamber choir. On top of that he also teaches two music classes: introduction to music and fundamentals of music.

Martin first contemplated majoring in computer science, but he later earned a bachelor’s degree in music and two master’s degrees in teaching and choral conducting.

Fall of 2016 was the first semester Martin taught at a college as a professor, however he has taught music 21 years. In his first four years of teaching, he had the opportunity to work in different schools where he taught elementary, middle school and high school students. During these years Martin taught everything including choir, band, orchestra and even recorders.

He moved to Deming, N.M., where he taught high school choir for 16 years. When he started at Deming, there was only one choir, but by the time that he left, he had grown the program to three choirs. During the time he was there, his choirs competed at festivals, and competitions and consistently got superior ratings and second at state twice.

Martin decided to come to USU Eastern because he felt like he had done as much as he could with his high school students. As much as he loved high school students he says that “a whole new world of music has opened up to me because college students understand my musical language better than my high schoolers could.” So when Martin was offered the job here, he,his wife and children, left friends and family behind, and decided to take a leap into the unknown of the collegiate world.

Martin loves conducting his new “instrument” as he refers to his choirs at USU Eastern. “I aspire to be the best conductor that I can be” he says. “When I show something, and my instrument or my choir does it perfectly, that is a magical moment.”

As the choral director, Martin has had two successful concerts, which had great turnouts and lots of compliments. During the past semester his choirs they have had retreats, learned over 30 new songs, traveled and sang in Salt Lake City and became a closer and tight-knit group.

In this new semester Martin plans to take his choirs on a musical tour, which will travel to Los Angeles, performing concerts along the way. He is humbled by how many people have helped him. He is grateful for the administration for being supportive of him and helping him get the things that he needs to help the program become successful.

Martin has many future goals, some of which are expanding the music department by having multiple teachers, helping get a band at USU Eastern and even one day establishing a music degree. These goals might be a few years in the future, but Martin believes that they are attainable.

Martin is very ambitious, but his main goal today is to recruit more students to his growing choirs. He says, “No matter what your experience, or singing ability, your fears or doubts, we have a place for you, and I truly believe that if you take the chance and take the class, it will be a highlight of your day.”

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