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By Brittany Allen

New music teacher brings big dreams back home to Goldendale schools


Brittany Allen

MUSIC TO THEIR EARS: AmyJo Blomquist is the Goldendale Primary School's new music teacher.

It was always in the plans for AmyJo Blomquist to return to the Pacific Northwest, and-with Barb Stout's recent retirement-the Goldendale School District had just the opening for her.

Goldendale Middle School principal Dave Barta says he greatly appreciates Barb Stout and the contributions she made during her tenure, but he is also very optimistic about Blomquist's future in the Goldendale music program.

"We're glad to have her, and I think it is a good chance to change," Barta said. "We've made a lot of focus on math and science-related things recently, and they are very important. Those are skills kids can use. We've put a lot of emphasis in that and that's important and we want to kind of try and match that emphasis with the arts and with music."

Blomquist's family moved to Goldendale when she was a sophomore in high school and her relationship with choral singing had just begun; this interest then continued to grow under the tutelage of Doug Siegel for the three years Blomquist spent at Goldendale High School and then flourished into a career once she entered college.

Blomquist is a 2011 graduate of the Brigham Young University of Idaho's music education program. For the past three years she has been teaching choir, guitar, ukulele, keyboard and ballroom dance as well as directing junior musicals and an afterschool show choir to K-8 students at Copper King Elementary School in Phoenix, Ariz.

She learned of the choral education position at Goldendale School District and applied with the intention of looking at other schools in the area as well; she ended up only applying to Goldendale and soon found herself starting anew in the town in which her parents still reside.

"This is great because I wanted to be closer to home and this is about as close as you can get to home," Blomquist said. "I think the intention was always to come back, not to Goldendale specifically, but to the Northwest."

Her goal for Goldendale Primary and Middle Schools is to build a more successful program; by this Blomquist hopes to entice more students to join in and really find a passion for music. She aspires to give her students more performance opportunities-especially in their own community-and believes that by giving the students more occasions to showcase their talents and have to work toward the goal of that perfect concert she will make the program more attractive to not only the kids but the community supporting the schools.

"There's a lot of talent in Goldendale; it just needs a direction," Blomquist said. "The biggest draw for students is having a successful program. People want to be part of things that are successful. So if you can give them the tools to be successful, then when they go out to perform and they feel successful, that's what really draws the students to that."

This goal seems to coincide well with the overall mission and aspirations of Goldendale Primary School as according to Principal Chip Ferrell.

"We're really, really excited about AmyJo coming in. It's nice when you get new staff in and they have new ideas, new things they want to try," Ferrell said. "I'd really like to see a music department here at the primary school that's dynamic. And I believe that AmyJo is going to bring that."

Another goal of Blomquist's is to create more unity throughout the district's music program by working more closely with Mr. Daniel Schneider, because "a music program is strongest when it's unified."

Schneider is also a rather recent implant into the Goldendale music program; he has been the band teacher at Goldendale middle and high schools and the choir director at the high school for just over a year. He shares similar sentiments with those involved in restructuring the program and has "high hopes" for working with Blomquist in the future and helping her accomplish her goals.

"She's been fantastic so far," Schneider said. "I'd love to see her do what I'm being able to do with the band program."

Blomquist's first day was last Wednesday and it seems as if everyone is anticipating this to be a good year for Goldendale School District. Blomquist especially hopes her work will make a difference right out of the gate.

"I'm excited to be back and I have a lot of goals for this year," Blomquist said. "The first year I just hope to make a good impact on the community."


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