Behind the Voice of Chelsea High School Choir


Aaron Pollard grins as he conducts his fifth hour Chamber Choir class

Chelsea High School’s Director of Choirs, Aaron Pollard, has a lot on his plate trying to balance teaching choir, Chelsea’s new acapella group, Chelsea Gold, and his family life outside of school. Despite this, no matter how stressful his life can be, Pollard knows that teaching choir is his calling in life.

Growing up, music has always been a huge part of Pollard’s life.

“Both of my parents were singers, in barbershops and church growing up,” Pollard said. “I watched them sing and joined them as soon as I could.”

Because of those influences in his life, Pollard had envisioned himself teaching a choir from a very early age.

“I probably knew that I wanted to be in music education as early as middle school,” Pollard recalled. “But it was my high school choir teacher who gave me the opportunity to lead and realize that I could actually do it.”

Participating in music his whole life has led Pollard to engage in new life experiences, create new memories, and meet new people.

“High school choir is when I got all the opportunities to be successful,” Pollard said. “That’s when I developed all my closest relationships. It’s an amazing opportunity to go into college and the real world outside of high school, and to build up students as much as possible.”

Starting his career was a little rocky due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020 when Pollard first arrived to teach at Chelsea. Similar to many others, it made it difficult for Pollard to teach, and, having it be his first year teaching at CHS, made it difficult to run the choir the way he wanted to.

“COVID affected teaching because I couldn’t hear the choir,” Pollard said. “I never had a whole choir sound other than putting individual voices together online and making up the sound of what it would be like together. So it became individual vocal training, and I had to hope the final product would come together as a full choir.”

As 2020 finished and Chelsea schools slowly made their transitions to a new normal, choir transformed into what it once used to be. 

Pollard teaches two different choirs at CHS, with Chamber Choir being the auditioned choir and Concert Choir being the base-level choir.

“In Chamber Choir I want to achieve high music making and work at the level that it used to be,” Pollard said. “In Concert Choir we have eight students in there right now, so we’re working on making it a solo repertoire class.”

In gaining the position as the Director of Choirs, Pollard found himself in charge of the show choir group at CHS, Company C. Pollard’s background dealt mainly with acapella and Barbershop choir, so when he started at CHS, he wanted to change Company C into something he knew how to run. hence, Chelsea Gold: a new acapella group at CHS.

Like with any new idea, creating Chelsea Gold wasn’t all smooth sailing and it came with its own set of difficulties.

“Running Chelsea Gold has been challenging in certain ways,” Pollard said. “Acapella is new to this type of [muscial] community, so getting used to the ability to sing your own part very confidently without the accompaniment behind it can be difficult.”

After every long school day, Pollard quickly leaves school at 3:05 pm to get home to his family. Pollard just had two new additions added to his family in the form of twin daughters. Having three kids all under the age of three adds quite a bit of mayhem to his schedule, so he tries not to let school intertwine with his personal life.

“I had to create a lot of boundaries in my life because I value family time,” Pollard said. “Saying no to things that are not in my contract is something that I am actively trying to do. Also making sure that I’m home as much as possible while also maintaining the high-quality music we’re making here is important.”

 Even with all he has on his plate, Pollard still gets excited every time he walks into his classroom. Teaching music creates a unique environment that can make an entire room change in seconds.

“I love teaching songs with extremely beautiful chords where the whole group is singing at the same time,” Pollard said. “When we finally hit the chord, just one chord perfectly, it changes a student’s perspective of what they can do. I love teaching those because it’s the easiest thing to achieve with the highest reward from the students’ excitement.”

While Pollard knows teaching is his life passion, he has some important advice for people who might be considering starting a career in music education.

“You have to really want it because all you’re going to get from your education and your students is that you’re not good enough,” Pollard said. “You have to be willing to push through that for the betterment of others. If you have that mindset and are willing to push through eight years of very difficult mental situations about yourself then you’re set.”