Musical reign

Santos set to retire from esteemed musical kingdom

santosyasss-1024x683Photo by Madison Krell

Choral director Elaine Santos, ruler of Mason High School’s musical empire for 16 years, will relinquish her crown next year as she retires.

Since her coronation, she has crafted a legacy infused with successes, including superior, state-level recognition and the first three-discipline concert.

According to Santos, she was hired under former Superintendendent Kevin Bright to grow the music program.

Its development included an increase in enrollment; Santos said the music department reaches over 1,000 students, or “about a third of the school”.

Santos said she challenges students to be their best selves which allows them to both realize their pursuit of music and add to the program’s prestige.

“When they feel a sense of pride, that pride emits from every single one of them to the greater population,” Santos said. “So there’s another level of prestige that’s being built.”

This acclaim may propel students to music careers in which transitions in colleagues are common, according to theater teacher Allen Young.

“I’ve worked with (her) for 14 years…and she teaches very good vocal technique,” Young said. “Somebody new (will) bring a whole new philosophy and approach, (but) it’s good if you are training for a career to work with different people and learn different philosophies.”

Young said that it will be up to the current staff to acclimate the new choral director, but he will miss collaborating with Santos.

“It’s been great to work with Mrs. Santos guiding the department because a lot of what we do is individual,” Young said. “Once a year, we get to really come together and collaborate (for) the spring musical. That’s one of the nicest times for us…I’m going to miss that with Mrs. Santos particularly because she’s such a good colleague.”

While Santos is an integral member of the music team, she said that her successor may have the potential to elevate the choir and pursue national recognition.

“I’ve done what I can do, and I’m very eager to find out who the winner of this interviewing process will be,” Santos said. “I know it will be someone outstanding, and I know it will be someone who can move the program to the next level of recognition…someone who has the energy and the foresight to see: ‘This is where they are now, and this is big. I think this is where I can take them which is even bigger.’ That would bring me such joy.”

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