All children pretend and think about what they will be when they grow up.
Michelle Howisen knew.
“When I was in middle school, I joined a community choir called the Southlake Children's Choir,” Howisen said. “That choir pull[ed] kids from all over Northwest Indiana…The director at the time was Cynthia Bradford. She just was the most amazing person and really helped me develop my love of music.”
“In eighth grade, after being with her for about four years, I was like, ‘You know what? This is what I want to do with my life,’” Howisen said. “I want[ed] to do what she [did] and that never wavered.”
Today Howisen is living out her dream.
As the high school choral director at Michigan City High School, Howisen shares her passion for music with her students every day.
To pursue this dream, Howisen attended DePauw University and Westminster College Choir. Through these programs, she earned a Bachelor of Science in music education and a Master of voice pedagogy.
“I am certified in vocal music…grades K through 12,” Howisen said. “I got my master's degree in August of 2010 from Westminster Choir College in vocal pedagogy (the science of teaching the voice). I know exactly how to teach voice and how to make you make the voice sound like the best instrument possible for you.”
This dedication has led to countless opportunities to spotlight her good work.
Howisen, however, is particularly proud of the work the choir did with Valparaiso University several years ago.
“About five years ago, Valparaiso University approached different high school choral directors in the area,” Howisen said. “I taught women's choir and my taught mixed choir [that year]. [We] worked from August through November— we worked really, really hard on it.”
We collaborated with the composer, and we performed along with like three or four other high schools for the world premiere of Johan de Meij’s Fifth Symphony.”
In addition to supporting and caring for her students, Howisen loves being a mom to her three children.
“[Being a mom] is my first job,” Howisen said. “My kids are busy with music activities and scouts and different things like that. When I'm not teaching, I am driving them to their activities. We just love to just hang out as a family and watch movies.”
Howisen also finds great pleasure in her extended family.
With her parents close by and active in her church, Howisen spends her spare time with people and in places she loves.
“Music is just it's a really important part of education,” Howsien said. “We place a lot of pressure on our kids to really do well in sports, but I think a lot of people don't realize the importance of music and how it can help every subject and every athlete. [Music] just helps with all different aspects of life.”
To support the Michigan City High School choir program, visit one of their upcoming concerts.