Jon Noyes founded the Fairfield County Children’s Choir, and currently serves as the Music Director. He is one of the most eminent choral conductors and music educators in New England. The work he’s done there (as many of our FSM parents and students can attest to) is nothing short of inspiring and impressive. With Maestro Noyes at the helm, the FCCC has traveled the globe – from Austria to Ireland to Carnegie Hall – and has grown to consist of four full choirs.
Recently, the FCCC was featured in a flashmob event to support those affected by cancer, and the mission of the Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale New Haven. Just be sure to grab a box of tissues before watching the video.
Jon also teaches music at Holland Hill elementary school in Fairfield, where he dedicates himself to the growth and development of students from kindergarten to fifth grade.
In talking to Jon, his message was as powerful as it was simple: The music speaks for itself. Let your actions be the message. We jumped right into the interview by asking Jon, “What is the message that you are trying to send about the importance of music in modern society?” Jon replied:
“I want that message to be transmitted not so much in words, but in action. To be transmitted by DOING that great art of music. Whatever we can say with words, whatever that message is, is secondary. It’s about just doing music with the kids.
That makes a lot of sense. It actually reminds me of when I was starting to learn guitar. It wasn’t because of anything other than the fact that I loved the music. The sound. I didn’t even read music at that time. I did everything by ear.
That’s what I’m talking about. Now as an educator, I have to be able to talk about that; to talk about the importance of music. I would say that with music, we have the opportunity to expose young people to new and different things. We have to start from what they know and experience everyday, and to then take them to new places and new experiences. You know, music stimulates more parts of the brain at the same time than almost any other human activity. That’s significant.”
It seems like everything happens in our lives so rapidly today. The whole world is on YouTube, we master video games in 10 hours, we have all the knowledge we need right on Google. I’ve always felt like music has been an antidote for the hectic pace of our lives, and the digital age in general.
It’s interesting. I’m still learning too. Music isn’t about getting to a certain point and then you ‘get it’. Everytime I work on a piece of music, I’m learning. Even if I’ve already performed it 5 times. Everytime I get in front of the choir, I learn something. We’re always growing with music. We’re always students.
John Ruskin said, “The highest reward for a man’s toil is not what he gets for it, but what he becomes by it”. That’s in our mission statement. With music, we are taken out of that paradigm. Our work is its own reward. Beyond the human development aspects, and the quality of life, music has intrinsic value. I’m lucky to be a lifelong student in that respect, and to pass on this cultural heritage through teaching and performing.
I love it. So what about the Children’s Choir? How do FSM students – or anyone – get involved?
We’re always looking for more voices. In fact, we’re already gearing up for auditions for the 2014-2015 season. If you go to our website, there’s an “audition” link with more information on what, when, and where those auditions will be. Keep in mind we have four choirs, so there is a place for just about any young person who is interested.
Did you enjoy this excerpt from our interview with Jon Noyes? Is there anyone that you would like us to interview? Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know. Stay tuned for more interviews and even some podcasts coming up in the future!