Mrs. Magden Performs Annual Opera Concert

Tatum Ball, Editor

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Opera singer and mathematics teacher Mrs. Joanne Magden performed a variety of pieces from operas and broadway musicals for students able to attend this past Wednesday, September 27th in the auditorium. Mrs. Magden has been performing for the school for about 10 years now, beginning in her classroom, moving to the choir room, and then eventually to the auditorium where she continues to perform annually.

Before beginning, she prefaced her performance with the concert’s purpose. Mrs. Magden stated that she did this concert every year for two reasons. The first is to show her students that teachers had lives and hobbies of their own, and the second is to encourage students to follow their dreams and enrich their lives with their passions.

Mrs. Magden performed a variety of pieces from operas and broadway musicals. She began by performing Wouldn’t It Be Lovely from the musical My Fair Lady. She moved on to singing the song Beauty and the Beast from the popular musical and movie of the same name. Next, she sang Waiting for my Deary from Brigadoon and Ave Maria composed by Franz Schubert. She ended the concert by singing the French song Habanera from the opera Carmen. Mrs. Magden told the Trojan Wall she chose “songs that show some variety and broaden the musical horizon of students and that sometimes might be familiar to them”.

Her music was complimented by simple lighting during each song. Mrs. Magden explained that lighting and sound was provided by “Cody Carter and Mason Groeger and a couple others from Mrs. Murphy’s tech class”. She began each piece by introducing the song and its context and ended each song with a small, humble bow and applause from the audience.

At the end of her performance, she opened the auditorium to questions from students. Junior David Davis asked when she began to study opera. Mrs. Magden replied that college was when she really began to sing broadway and study opera style singing. 

While exiting the auditorium, junior Jacob Carter told The Trojan Wall, “a couple of the songs, at least four out of the five songs, gave me chills.” Carter goes on to say “I think it really is beneficial for … us to hear a teacher, who doesn’t make that much money, following her dreams and doing what she loves … and being happy with her life.”

Senior Chris Powell said “I enjoyed [the concert]. There were a lot of songs I knew there that she sang. … I feel that it is beneficial for students to learn more music variety and understand that teachers have lives outside of school.”

Mrs. Magden’s concert begs the question of what we might not know about the lives of our staff members. Academic support and peer facilitation teacher Ms. Troupe said she believed she was an open book, but her students might be surprised to learn she had a tongue piercing. Mr. Stiles, biology teacher and swim coach, said his students might be surprised to learn that he has “jumped off the wing of a plane at 10,000 ft without a parachute”. Security guard Allen Monegan has been a piano and organ player for 38 years.

Mrs. Magden’s opera concert continues to be a pleasure for students and a celebration of Paradise Valley’s talent and diversity.

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Mrs. Magden Performs Annual Opera Concert