Choir director fulfills his dream

Edryn J. Coleman has been appointed as the new choir director at Grambling State University. He has made a move from the D.C. metro area. Coleman is a graduate of Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Ala., where he received a degree in music education with a concentration in voice. He then received a Masters degree in music education with a concentration in choral conducting from the prestigious, Florida State University in Tallahassee, Fla.

He was reared in Montgomery, Ala. by his mother, an educator, and his farther, a Methodist pastor. Early on his dream was to become a choral director, and has since turned this dream into reality. He is currently in pursuit of his doctoral degree, in choral conducting from Shenandoah University in Winchester, Va.

He is a member of the American Choral Directors Association, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and Music Educators National Conference.

When asked why he chose Grambling?, Coleman replied, “I always had a strong desire to teach at an HBCU, so naturally when it came time for me to teach, my first choice would be at a Historically Black College or University.”

After researching job positions available he came across two. After being offered a position at both universities, Coleman felt that Grambling was a better fit.

His experience in teaching ranges from kindergarten to the collegiate level. His prior teaching position being middle school.

“Students are students and teachers are teachers. An effective teacher can get across to all students,” said Coleman when asked what level he enjoyed teaching best.

Changing from grammar to university was different Coleman said, “The learning of the culture of Grambling and the do’s and don’ts of the university were different. Middle school students are at an age that they are eager to learn and to please.”

When asked if there was a transition from moving from a big-city to a small, Coleman said, “No, because I’m from Montgomery, Ala., and things in the south tend to be slower pace.”

Coleman’s plans for the choir are to recruit like crazy, and to get the best of the best students

“I want as much public exposure for the choir as possible,” he said.

The new director said, “Most importantly, I want the choir to be a family that takes care of each other.”

“I want to build a choir family tradition of excellence.” “This is because; choir students spend more time a week with each other in one class than in any other,” Coleman said.

He wants the choir to be serious about love for their brothers and sisters and says the choir should be where student’s hearts should be.

In his spare time Coleman enjoys traveling outside of the country. He at least travels once a year, enjoying trips to London, but he mostly enjoys warm countries in or near South America.

Coleman is rapidly preparing the schedule for the university choir, as his arrival to Grambling only came in August.

“I didn’t have the luxury to plan everything for the year,” Coleman.

Two scheduled choir performances will include Founder’s Day, Tuesday, Sept. 23 in the GSU Assembly Center, and the Winter Concert on Wednesday, Dec. 3. The choir will still participate in the annual trips to Bayou Classic, Houston, and Dallas, Coleman said.

“I don’t want to change any traditions, instead I want to add to them,” he said.

Some choir members had mixed opinions concerning the new professor and the choir itself.

“I feel that our new professor is trying to put his new rules in use instead, he should get to know us and then implement his rules next semester,” Tierra Martin, a sophomore?music education, piano major.

“GSU choir has extremely talented individual’s coming together as a whole so the sound is there. The administrative work lacks stability. I have classes and I work, and I have no itinerary for the performances for this semester. Without this itinerary I cannot plan my schedules accordingly,” explained Coleman.

“When it comes to the director, I really don’t know his background,?nor do I care, but I am willing to give him an opportunity to become a successful leader,” said Arsenio Wilborn, a sophomore majoring in psychology/English.