Choir director Taylor Iverson’s journey to the Today Show!

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Kendyll Lindsey, Reporter

Bothell High School’s very own choir director, Taylor Iverson, was featured on the “Today” Show on Wednesday, September 23rd. Iverson began teaching Bothell’s choirs about 4 years ago when the previous director, Sheri Erickson, retired from teaching. Iverson’s father was a choir director in Vancouver, Washington, when she was growing up and her father was a big influence in why she decided to teach music. 

Having started singing in community choirs at a young age, Iverson discovered a passion for music that continued into high school. When asked what her favorite part about choir in school was, Iverson responded, “I just really love making music with other people who love to make music. I think there’s really no better way to connect with people than singing.” I asked how she came up with techniques when she first started and was told that she had an incredibly rich education at Western Washington University and that she was able to be a part of many great choirs; she even went on to say: “the education at Western is fantastic […] I learned by watching and learned by just being lucky enough to have amazing teachers.” 

The coronavirus pandemic has greatly impacted the arts all over the country; luckily Iverson’s classes weren’t affected by COVID-19 as much as one might think. About the topic of teaching online, Iverson went on to say, “I think everyone was disappointed that we were online, and I just shifted my thinking into a way that was how we can use this as an opportunity to do different things and still learn and still have fun and still make music.” Iverson had to find some creative ways to keep music alive while also allowing students to connect and form relationships with each other. She’s also been implementing some new units like “Music Through a Bigger Lens” which addresses how music affects us and our society, and she uses the “Justice Choir Songbook” to guide those conversations through music. 

I was unsure of how Iverson got her feature on the Today Show, and asked if she knew how they had come to pick her; Iverson said that the show was featuring three educators from around the country. Then, when the Northshore School district was chosen, a list of possible teachers was sent to the show, later resulting in Iverson being chosen. “I was honored and humbled to be chosen,” she said when she found out from the district. Iverson also got to choose a combination of graduated students and current students to join her virtually, “[…] based on certain videos that the kids took during class, they helped me choose who to be on the live taping, but if I had it my way, […] all one hundred of my students would be on the live show with me.” 

I thought readers would be curious about the whole process and had Iverson explain how the filming process worked. She said that a person from King 5 came to videotape her in her apartment on Friday, September 18th. “They followed me around with a video camera and told me to be as normal as possible. I tried to be. And then, we did an interview right after that.” Iverson also told me that she was really nervous about being on the show, “I’ve had a lot of amazing teachers and I know a lot of amazing teachers and I just kind of felt like they should be doing this, not me,” but she knew she could use the opportunity to speak about the importance of the arts. 

Nearing the end of our interview, I asked Iverson if there was anything else she wanted me to know and she told me, “It’s all for my students. They’re what’s important and I’m so grateful for them.”