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Central High Bids Farewell To Choir Director Of Five Years

BOUTWELL'S LAST CENTRAL CONCERT -- Mrs. Boutwell directs the Freshman and Concert choirs in their last concert with her.

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BOUTWELL'S LAST CENTRAL CONCERT -- Mrs. Boutwell directs the Freshman and Concert choirs in their last concert with her.

Samantha Helmholtz, Staff Writer

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For the past five years, Central High School choir director, Martha Boutwell, has led Central and Brown’s choir programs as well as taught guitar at CHS. While well loved by students and faculty alike, Mrs. Boutwell’s time at Central has come to a close. For the next school year, a different teacher will take her place to oversee the choir’s concerts and the talent show.

The decision to leave is never an easy one. For Mrs. Boutwell, the choice came up when her husband was offered a job in south Georgia in a new church as the Minister of Music near the end of January. He began working at the beginning of March. With this, Mrs. Boutwell and her husband had to move closer to this newfound opportunity, making the drive to Central and Brown three hours long. Mrs. Boutwell’s new home in located in the small town of Sylvester, Georgia.

Mrs. Boutwell, however, is not planning to give up teaching so readily. While she is still in the process of interviewing, choral music is extremely popular in her new community’s surrounding school districts.

“Choral music is equal with football in most surrounding school districts. It is the norm to have 300 to 400 singers in high school choral programs, competitive show choirs, and large middle school feeder programs,” explained Mrs. Boutwell.

These schools often have enough funding to be able to buy the expensive musical pieces, hire outside accompanists,  and pay for professional choreographers to illuminate acts for show choirs. Some of the districts are even home to Performing Arts centers that are able to seat 600 to 800 people.

Leaving this school also means leaving behind the students that have been under Mrs. Boutwell’s eye during these past years.

“Mrs. Boutwell was very important to my school years,” remarked Ryane Harbour, a sophomore in the choir program. “Every day I could go to Choir and know there would be something fun to do.”

The memories made at Central, however, can be carried with Mrs. Boutwell for the rest of her years. From singing for Christmas at the Courthouse, being featured on a news spotlight twice, and having a photo spread and accompanying story in the Chattanooga Times Free Press, there is a plethora of memories to reflect on.

“My fondest memories are from getting to know so many great students and their wonderful families, and all of our field trips and concerts throughout the years,” elucidated Mrs. Boutwell.

For next year, Central’s new choral director will be Katheron Latham. She has had two sons graduate from Central, and currently has a daughter attending Brown Middle. She is the pianist and children’s choir director at Bayside Baptist church, and she also has a music studio in her home where she teaches lessons in piano and voice.

“I know out students at Central are going to love Mrs. Latham and enjoy singing with her,” commented Mrs. Boutwell.

Losing teachers is always a remorseful experience. With every year a teacher works at a school and with more students, more lives are impacted in ways that may not always be visible. It is unfortunate that Mrs. Boutwell’s life is taking her from Central, but she will continue to influence the lives of her future students.

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Central High Bids Farewell To Choir Director Of Five Years