Morse High School began a new chapter this year with the addition of Sarah Coleman as Theater Director and Andy Chipman as Band Director. Coleman, who replaced longtime theater director Kevin O’Leary, brings a background that includes high school and college drama directing and teaching, district-wide arts advocacy, and work within professional theater and arts organizations.
“Morse is a school and community with deep tradition,” said Coleman. “I bring a new set of experiences. I’m looking forward to working with students and the community to bring those together.” High School Principal Eric Varney sees Coleman as a great addition to the school. “Morse has always had a very strong theater program,” he said. “Ms. Coleman has the background not only in theater production but also working with students in theater. I am excited to see what she will bring to the Montgomery Theater.”
Andy Chipman knows first-hand about Morse tradition. His children attended and graduated from Morse. As the Bath Middle School Band Director, a position he held for eight years, he also spent time working with his predecessor, Anthony Marro. “People wanted continuity and stability for the program,” he said. “Some of the students who will be with me this year, I taught in Middle School.” “Mr. Chipman was a known entity to us for a while,” said Varney. “He is known to the students, too. We are all excited that he has decided to come be the Band Director for the High School.”
Both Coleman and Chipman said they are delighted to by part of the Morse community as well. “Morse is the most welcoming place I have ever been,” said Chipman. “People come up to me and say, ‘We’re glad you are here.’ I go into the office and see class pictures that include my own children. I feel like I belong.”
Among her first assignments, Coleman will be working with colleague Sandy Foreman organizing a venerated tradition at the school: MoHiBa, the annual variety and talent show being held this year on November 17 and 18. She is also working to help several students who wrote plays last year have their work read. One new idea that has been in discussion for some time but will come to fruition this year is a Spring musical that will bring all three of the teachers: Coleman, Chipman and Foreman, together. “I enjoy working collaboratively,” Chipman said. “I’m looking forward to supporting the musical any way I can.”
For now, Chipman is focused on teaching basics to students to begin preparing them for various concerts that will be held in the winter and spring, as well as football games and pep rallies, and other events. His advice to students: “Get involved!” Both he and Coleman agree that the school offers lots of opportunities for students to participate, to explore and to try things out. Like most things, participation in organized activities seems to be down. Collectively, they hope they can bring new energy, and renewed participation for theater and band.