Teacher Spotlight – Mrs. Lowe

Teacher+Spotlight+-+Mrs.+Lowe

6 April 2022

GOODYEAR, ARIZONA – Desert Edge High School has an immense performing arts program with dance, theater, and music. One very successful program within the school happens to be the choir program. With five classes and two extracurricular groups, the Desert Edge choir is a beloved aspect of Desert Edge’s performing arts, with talented students performing twice a year in two-day concerts.

A long-time musician, Mrs. Amy Lowe leads this successful program and has dedicated most of her time and energy into building and maintaining the biggest choir program in the West Valley with the help and support of her friends, family, and, of course, her students.

Recently, Mrs. Lowe has been recognized as the best high school teacher by West Valley View’s Best of 2022, and it’s no wonder why. Not only is she one of the nicest teachers on campus, but she is also one of the most hard-working. Mrs. Lowe is heavily involved in music productions across the school. In the spring 2022 semester, she is running five different class choirs and two varsity choir clubs; she is also in charge of the upcoming choir concert and the music pit in the recent production The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical.

In the following interview, conducted on March 4, 2022, I talked with Mrs. Lowe regarding her time before becoming a teacher here at Desert Edge, as well as some of her upcoming projects. She has a lot on her plate this semester, but she keeps an incredibly positive and friendly mindset throughout it.

The Interview

  • How long have you been studying music? What were you doing prior to becoming a choir teacher at Desert Edge?

“I’ve been studying music since I was 10 years old, so that would be 47 years! I’ve always been involved in music, but worked ‘day jobs’ to support my band habit (LOL). I worked for 10 years as a real estate appraiser and owned my own business during the 90’s, but still played in a rock band at night. When my son was born, I quit playing the rock scene and missed it, so I went back to school to finish my degree so I could teach music.”

  • Why did you decide to teach at Desert Edge? Was there a choir program in place when you came or did you build one up?

“I moved to Arizona in 2013 and immediately started teaching in the Avondale Elementary School District. Unfortunately, due to lack of funding, I taught at a new school every 9 weeks and it was too much. The theater teacher at DE was a former assistant principal at Desert Thunder and she came to meet me. She went back to the administration and said she found someone who could build a program. They hired me for the 2014-2015 school year and I’ve been here since. When I came here, there was only one choir per semester, so I taught Theater as well. Within 3 years, I had 5 choirs and today there are also two extra curricular choirs. I believe we are the largest program in the West Valley and I don’t know of any larger programs in Arizona.”

  • What are your thoughts on the choir program nowadays? What are the students like to you?

“I love this program and the students are the heart of it. My choir students are dedicated to the program, each other and the music. Sometimes it takes a little while for the newer students to get to this level, but it happens pretty quickly.”

  • You are learning and playing the piano for both the musical The Lightning Thief and the spring choir concert. How do you manage?

“It’s been challenging, especially with all the sub coverage. Typically I use my prep period to practice so I’m a little behind on my music. There is a TON of music and just because it’s ‘poppy’ it is not easy at all. The rhythms are very syncopated, there are awkward transitions (in the musical) and playing pop music takes a toll on the hands. Plus I’m conducting the pit and giving entrances while playing. But I do pretty well with stress when I’m doing something I’m passionate about.”

  • What are you most excited for in these upcoming events?

“I’m excited for the kids! They are working so hard. Our last full spring concert was in 2019 due to COVID-19. That was such a great show; in fact, many asked ‘How are you going to top that one?’ This year’s Spring Concert is filled with recognizable songs from the 70’s including ‘Mamma Mia’ and many songs from ‘Guardians of the Galaxy.’ I hope to sell out both nights for this event. As far as the musical, it’s the first live pit since ‘Beauty and the Beast’. We have a rock band with Mr. Traugott, Elias Panduro Beltran and myself. If Tony [Mrs. Lowe’s husband; drummer/composer] hasn’t started his LA gig, he may be able to play bass..I HOPE, or I’ll be playing the bass lines as well.”

  • Any future goals for the choir program in the next few years?

“I hope that it keeps building and students keep the momentum going. Hopefully the community will vote back in the override which funds the arts. Unfortunately, it did not pass last October so there is always a possibility that our arts programs will lose funding. I have four more years until retirement and want to retire from Desert Edge. I love this school, the kids and our community here.”

  • Finally, what are some of your hobbies and interests outside of school?

“I love to spend time with my family and friends, but honestly, outside of school, I listen to music, plan concerts and practice my piano. This job is also my hobby!”