The meaning of music

Maize High Choir director teaches kids the true meaning of music


Courtesy Photo

Doris Prater directs the choir as they surround the auditorium for the final song of their recent holiday concert.

Ariana Beggs, Reporter

The souring notes of sopranos, swirling through the silent halls creates an ambience that fills up the otherwise cold high school environment. Listening to the quiet echoes, few truly understand the meaning of the words. 

Maize High Choral director, Doris Prater, strives to bring the love and hope of music to people of all backgrounds. In Prater’s 41 years of teaching, she has changed so many lives for the better. 

AJ Sevier

“We’ve done so much fundraising, you know, as far as benefits, we’ve done literally 10s of 1000s of dollars of benefits over the years. That’s crucial,” said Prater. “And that helps the kids feel better about themselves, and of course the most important thing we do is we connect emotionally with the music and that makes all the difference in the world.”

Performing is somewhat second nature to junior and choir performer Emma Dugan. Dugan has appreciated the overall message of what Prater teaches the students on what the actual performance means to those listening.

“Anytime we put on a performance, whether we’re caroling or doing a show, she always says, just think about those who are going to love and be happy with what we perform and what we show them.”

Prater’s start in Music Education was met with so much doubt and worry, even from her parents; but watching her students fight the stereotypes that cloud the music industry, truly brought her so much joy and hope. 

“What thrills me beyond belief is the fact that these kids are doing what they love, doing it well and able to make a living, not having to have another job. You know, with the fine arts which is something that again, coming from where I did and hearing that music was going to be discontinued and all this stuff. That is a real blessing,” said Prater.

Reaching her fourth and final year of high school, senior Maddison Baker understands the depth and effect music can have. Baker’s own love and connection with music has grown from Prater’s instruction.

“She has taught me to appreciate music a lot more instead of just listening to it,” said Baker. “Just, figuring out the meaning and relating it to your life. We’re not just singing, we’re relaying a message to the audience for whatever show we’re doing.”

No matter how far they go or what direction they take in life, Prater’s students will never forget the impact she had on their hearts. 

“A lot of times they’ll connect with me and I’ll get to see them and stuff like that. And that’s wonderful. I’d love to have more connections,” said Prater.

“One of the girls that graduated probably 20 years ago, just texted me and said, can we get together over Christmas?” said Prater. “ Oh, yes, definitely. It’s so much fun. It’s so enjoyable to see what they’re doing, what they’ve done in life and what they’ve created.”