Gelber gets students involved with her own interest in music

by REBECCA WILLIAMS//Staff Writer

Deborah Gelber started to sing and play the piano in church when she was a little girl, singing with her family and the church choir.

Dr. Gelber, assistant professor of Fine Arts, has been teaching for almost 16 years, five of which have been at SPC.  She attended West Virginia University to get her undergraduate degree in music education, then earned her master’s degree in piano performance. 

She then took 16 years off and taught in public schools, teaching at a junior high school for 10 years. But in 2007, she decided to go back to college and enrolled at Texas Tech University to pursue her doctorate in vocal coaching and accompanying collaborative piano.  Dr. Gelber’s husband also teaches at SPC in the same building. He teaches theatrical arts in the Christine Devitt Fine Arts Center.

Dr. Gelber teaches Foundations, which is an education class, Fundamentals, which is music reading, Choir, Chamber Choir, and Advanced Sight Singing, in addition to giving voice lessons.  Dr. Gelber also helps the theater program with the music.  Near the end of this semester, the theater and the choir are putting on a Christmas show, “Christmas Puddin”, which is a series of different readings with songs intertwined.

“You don’t have to be a good singer to be in choir,” says Dr. Gelber. “There are many people who have never sang before that have been in my class.”

Participation scholarships are available to anyone who joins.  So not only is it a good way to pass your time and have fun, but it could be beneficial to your education as well.  These scholarships range in amount depending upon the student.  To go with the scholarship, students are signed up for 30-minute sectionals, or individual tutoring sessions.  Dr. Gelber says that she would like for more people to realize that this campus has a choir, and it’s not just about singing. There are instrumentals involved too.

“I take anyone ranging from students who haven’t ever sang, to students who have been to all state in high school,” Dr. Gelber says. “I would love to get more students interested in joining the choir. It is just a fun experience for everyone.  Everyone is welcome. They don’t need to know how to sing or read sheet music. They just need to come and sing with us.”

In the spring, the choir has a lighter program with more Broadway features to it. In the fall, there is more of a classical choir, with a few winter songs included.  The music that is chosen is not regular choir music. Dr. Gelber says she likes to choose songs that are popular with everyone.  The choir puts on around two to three concerts every semester, but Dr. Gelber is working on getting to perform more.

She says that she wants to help students realize their voice, not just in singing, but in everyday life as well.

“There are many opportunities to work in a classroom here at SPC,” says Dr. Gelber. “We are in the classroom teaching, instead of concentrating on other things. So we can teach our students and help them grow.  That is what I enjoy most about this school, I think. It is good to get through to the students.”

Author: Plainsman Press Staff

The student newspaper of South Plains College.

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