Choir teacher enters new school with past experiences to provide guidance

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Candice Anvari staff writer

The room was quiet and Michael Turnblom had to sing on his own for the first time during his sophomore year of high school. The moment he sang, the teacher took him off stage and marched him to the principal’s office to change his schedule and put his talent to use in choir. The assistance a teacher can provide to help a student find his or her voice can make all the difference in a student’s life. The new choir teacher Michael Turnblom appreciates all forms of creativity and is prepared to use his creative background to help and inspire students to bring out their artistic sides, just as his choral teacher did for him. 

Turnblom was afraid of singing before he participated in anything arts related. His grandmother would always urge him to give singing a chance, but he wasn’t interested at the time. Turnblom turned away from the performing arts until the musical at his high school came around. He encourages his students to learn from his experience and try something new, even if they’re terrified.   

“In my 10th-grade year, I really wanted to be in my high school musical because that’s what all my friends were doing. I ended up having to sing the songs by myself on stage and I had no idea I could sing well until that moment,” Turnblom said. 

After high school, Turnblom received a scholarship to sing in college, where he pursued his passion for vocal performance in a classical sense. In college, he studied opera and “caught the language bug in singing” through the usage of different languages within his studies. 

While in college, Turnblom was also able to study abroad. He traveled to Italy and studied many different languages during his time abroad, which he was later able to incorporate in his choir with the use of language. 

Before coming to Beverly Hills, Turnblom taught at the Academy of the Holy Cross, an all girls private high school in Washington DC, that allowed him to reconnect with the musical theatre experience he had in high school by helping to produce three musical theatre productions in one year. He also took to teaching multiple religious and cultural choirs, his first being one for Hispanic immigrants. 

In his move to Los Angeles, Turnblom learned to deal with new obstacles that were thrown at him. He adjusted to the high standard set for artists in Los Angeles by not letting his failures affect him as much as they used to. He lives by a quote Nelson Mandela said: “I never lose. I either win or I learn.” The quote showed him that he could turn his failures into something that he could learn and grow from.  

“I had to learn how to deal with my failure in a positive way. I think I would always just really get down on myself if I didn’t do something perfectly and made mistakes. Now I’ve learned to be open to mistakes,” Turnblom said. “If I make a mistake, I’m focusing extra hard on what’s going on so I’m actually going to learn something deeper than if I didn’t make any mistakes at all.” 

In regards to this year’s choir program, Turnblom wants the choir to eventually be twice the size it is now, while also keeping high standards for the program. He hopes to bring out the artistic side in students and allow them to step out of their comfort zones and express their creative outlets. 

“I love helping other people discover their voices. I have a really strong belief in people’s voices and that everyone has a voice and everyone can sing. I also love helping other people discover different aspects of themselves,” Turnblom said. “They say you should have three hobbies: one hobby to make you money, one hobby to keep you in shape and one hobby to keep you creative. I’m convinced that there are more Normans out there where choir can be their creative outlet.” 

 

 

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