Maryville High School Vocal Music Teacher Vanessa Parsons has been recognized by her peers and been named as the 2020 Outstanding Choral Director for the northwest district.

The award was presented by the Missouri Choral Directors Association (MCDA) and awarded at the virtual convention held this year. MCDA presents several awards each year including the outstanding choral director in 11 districts.

Parsons was nominated by Platte County Vocal Music Director Brian Von Glahn. All members in the district then voted to give Parsons the award.

“It’s such an honor to be recognized by your peers, the same people who do what you do,” Parsons said.

Parsons has taught vocal music for 22 years and is starting her seventh year at MHS. She is currently teaching two show choirs, Spectrum and Illumination, a general vocal course, a mixed choir course and a dual credit American popular music, a music history course, in conjunction with Northwest Missouri State University.

She is also active with Maryville Young Players, Second Stage and is the choir director at the First United Methodist Church in Maryville. She and her husband, Tye, have two daughters, Lucy and Ellie.

Parsons said there were going to be challenges for the coming 2020-21 school year, the main challenge being whether or not to sing. The school year will start with the students being outside and masked.

The students will use singer’s masks which are slightly different than regular masks.

“We are going to do everything we can do to give the kids the experience but we’re going to be safe doing it,” Parsons said. “So if we have to change methods we will.”

This year she is doing one theme for the show choirs, instead of the normal two. She has a four-step plan for teaching the material: learn the song, sing the song, perform the song, and be the message of the song.

The classroom will be moved outside or on the stage to allow the singers to social distance. There probably won’t be a concert until it can be performed safely.