Recent Grads Direct Groups Winning Nationals

Kolinski_Janine-S Herbert_Sarah-SJanine Kolinski Brown graduated in 2012 with a degree in Music Education (Instrumental Track), and Sarah Herbert Pill graduated in 2011 with a degree in Music (Piano Performance Emphasis). This year, Sarah and Janine are teaching music as part-time instructors at Maranatha Baptist Academy. Under Janine’s direction, the band placed first at Nationals. The Small Vocal Ensemble also placed first at Nationals under the direction of Sarah (Pictured Left to Right: Sarah and Janine).

How many years have you been teaching?

Janine Kolinski Brown: This is my first year teaching! Sometimes I think I’m learning more than the students.

Sarah Pill Herbert: I have only been teaching for one year, so I’ve learned much and made a few mistakes.

What are some factors you can attribute to the success of this year’s groups at Nationals? 

Janine: The students were very motivated. They worked hard on their own time as well as the classroom. I would compare band to any team sport- teamwork is the key to success.

Sarah: I had a really good group of kids to teach. The students in the small vocal ensemble had to try out, so they were the ones who really WANTED to learn how to sing better together as a group.

What is your favorite “moment” from rehearsals this year?

Janine: We have had a lot of special moments! I think my favorite was our very first band rehearsal. We played through Psalm 42 by Samuel Hazo- a simple, beautiful piece. It was surreal to hear how good they sounded, and I was their director!

Sarah: Some of the best moments are when the students “get” a concept and hear how it affects their overall sound. Other really neat moments are during performances when they are really focused on what they’re doing.

Why do you love working with these groups?

Janine: High school band is so much fun! It’s neat watching the students not only make great friends, but also learn life lessons along the way.

Sarah: I love working with the academy because the kids have so much talent. It’s easy to enjoy kids who have already been well trained! I certainly didn’t have to start from the beginning with them. They are so much fun outside of choir as well. The trip to Nationals was just such a blast. I love hanging out with great people, so I love hanging out with the Academy kids!

Has being a director of a winning group always been one of your aspirations?

Janine: Absolutely! Although, I really have such a hard time taking any credit because I know the students worked so hard for this.

Sarah: I never really pictured myself conducting a high school choir when I started taking conducting lessons in junior high. I knew that learning to conduct would probably be helpful someday, but I guess I always pictured myself being at the piano. Conducting this year has helped me realize that I LOVE being up on front of a choir and teaching them to sing. I want my students to love to sing, because it’s an amazing ministry that they will be able to use for the rest of their lives.

Listen to the Band Perform:

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