A Flair for Music

“People ask me, how do people burst into song in the middle of a conversation?” choir teacher Marion Drew says, smiling.

Drew, new West Essex women’s and mixed choir director, and a former band student herself, is more than merely passionate about music. To her, music has more power and strength than anyone could even comprehend.

“I always try to share the thought that the music takes over where speaking can’t express any further,” Drew said.

Ever since a singing tour when she was 16 in England, Drew has been beyond passionate about the musical arts. Her experience in high school certainly wasn’t lacking any music before that, as she was a band student for all four years of high school, but she picks this moment as truly when she found her real passion for the subject, all because of the tour and one tiny little musical: “Chess,” the completely sung-through story of an American chess player who goes over to Russia to play the world champion, Russian chess player, when they fall into a dramatic, almost James Bond-esque political scandal, in which chess in the central point in it all.

“It was the most passionate and creative thing I’ve ever seen,” Drew said of the lesser-known musical.

After that, she hit the ground running, going to Indiana University and pursuing a five-year program in Music Education, which required her to not only study voice and get experience teaching but also to learn a new instrument every year of the program. She drew from that experience to go on to become a choir director in several schools.

Now, as the director of the West Essex Choirs, she hopes to better get to know students and to “…make some unforgettable music together.” Some of that “unforgettable” music would include the “Rent Medley” for the mixed choir and the piece “Ain’t No Grave Can Hold My Body Down” for the women’s choir. Of course, that isn’t all she wants to do with her choirs. Mrs. Drew is lending a hand with the school musical, as the music director, and just had a concert for her two choirs.

But that’s not all. Mrs. Drew mentioned that not only does she enjoy having her students embrace this passion, but the rest of the school community as well. Having the whole joining in to collaborate and help each other with a concert or a musical is truly meaningful to her.

“I love musical growth in young people,” Drew said. “I like when they feel proud of themselves, and teach them to have pride in a product that they made.”

With this kind of passion, it’s not hard to see why Mrs. Drew is a perfect fit for the choirs and a lovely addition to the West Essex Music program.

“I love when we put a concert together and I can see when we’ve done something really special and [especially] when the students work together to make something special.”

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