The Glendora High School show choirs have sung everywhere, from the streets of Glendora to the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Director Brian Trevor, affectionately known as DT, has been directing the show choirs with Karen Wingerd, the piano accompanist, since 2002. At the end of this school year, they will be bidding farewell after almost two decades with the Tartan family.
Trevor found his passion for music in choirs and was inspired by his church choir director to explore music even further with a singing teacher. He recollects, “When I was approaching my senior year in high school, she said, ‘You know, Brian, if there’s anything you can do besides music for a career and be happy doing that, keep music as your avocation.’”
He kept it in mind; although he chose to major in English, he took a year of music when he was about to graduate, going on to earn a graduate degree and a Doctor of Musical Arts. He taught part-time as an adjunct, kicking off a teaching career of close to 50 years.
Before moving to Glendora, Trevor lived in Canada and Florida where he directed numerous choirs. When his wife, Mrs. Trevor, volunteered for the spring musical at Goddard Middle School, she was encouraged by the departing choir teacher to apply for her job. They hired her, and when there was an opening at GHS, Dr. Trevor applied and became their choir director.
“I’m always careful to say my wife got hired first, and then they hired me after that,” Trevor jokes. “It’s been a great ride, we’ve had wonderful times.”
The other half of the iconic duo, Wingerd, came into the picture the same year Trevor was hired. Wingerd was playing the piano at Grace Church when Trevor came up to her and asked if she was interested in becoming the piano accompanist for GHS. She was.
“DT happened to stop by that particular church that particular Sunday,” Wingerd reminisces. “It was just the right timing, really. Everything fit into place just at the right time.”
Music came naturally to Wingerd. She played the piano for her school choirs from elementary to middle to high school, so the continuation of her music journey in college was obvious. She became an accompanist for various choirs over the years.
“It was just simply what I enjoy doing,” Wingerd explains. “It wasn’t really a decision I made, I think it was just a natural process. When I went to college, it made sense that I just wanted to learn more of what I already was doing.”
Their times at GHS weren’t without challenges. Years of playing piano took a toll on Wingerd’s hands, requiring surgery. However, she waited until after the competition season to get the surgery so the choirs weren’t left without an accompanist. This year posed another challenge: compared to the usual highly interactive activities, it was difficult for Trevor and Wingerd to connect with students over Zoom, but they’re pleased to spend the last few months of the year in the choir room with the students again.
Regardless of the teaching circumstances, though, their favorite part of show choir has always been the students. Wingerd says without hesitancy, “the kids and the creative process and watching that all work together.” Trevor echoes Wingerd, confirming the magic of watching students learn to put together a performance with music and choreography.
Choir students know Trevor and Wingerd for their serious but playful attitudes, whether it be at school, competitions, or tours. Senior Jazmin Galvez, President of Silhouettes, recounts silly interactions with Wingerd on the 2019 Orlando choir tour.
“She sent the weirdest check-in pictures of her and all the chaperones posing and making silly faces,” Galvez chuckles. “She posed one time like a dinosaur with her legs up and claw hands — funniest thing, favorite picture of her.”
Senior Katie Wade, Co-President of Royal Stewarts, appreciates the personal relationships and interactions they have with students. Show choir has a special place in her heart, and “DT and Mrs. Wingerd made that really fun.”
For sophomore Mary Shearer, she will miss the familiarity next school year after knowing Wingerd for five years and Trevor for two years: “the choir is really a family and we will definitely feel their absence.”
On a high note, Trevor doesn’t lack social media presence, thanks to Annette O’Young, class of 2016. Since 2015, the Instagram @dtizzle.bkb has been dedicated to collecting random snapshots of DT, and it has been passed down from senior to senior. The current curator, senior Dylan Renfrow and Co-President of Royal Stewarts, says, “it’s been a little harder over distance learning, but every so often, DT’s camera will pause and that always makes for a good photo.”
Now, looking back at her years in choir, senior Erica Lopez is grateful to Trevor and Wingerd for exposing students to all kinds of music and for making students love music as much as they do.
“Both exude their passion for music onto the students, which is something truly amazing,” reminisces Lopez.
To all the choir students, “DT” and “Mrs. Wingerd” are synonymous with show choir. As the two beloved choir legends say their goodbyes, their imprints at GHS are here to stay — and the sounds of the choirs will continue to flow out of Room 10 and fill the campus.