Educator Spotlight: Seth Fewell
Former music educator connected students with astronauts to build cultural understanding
This story is part of a weekly series that celebrates outstanding teachers in our Flipgrid community. Stories by Angela Tewalt.
A few years ago as a music educator in South Houston, Texas, Seth Fewell piled his elementary students onto a school bus to drive them downtown.
For many of these kids, they hadn’t even left the neighborhood let alone a trip toward the bright lights and big city. They bounced along in their seats, leaning into the windows with stars in their eyes and glee in their bellies. Seth was giddy, too.
That afternoon, those students jumped off the bus and into an afternoon singing along with the Houston Symphony Orchestra at the Jones Hall for Performing Arts.
Seth has music notes etched into his bones. Throughout his entire childhood and adult life, he’s listened to music, performed in bands and sang with the best of the choirs, all to harmonize with the tune already in his head.
But it’s not enough to enjoy the music – for him, he wants others to feel the joy in it, too, so when he began teaching music at Pearl Hall Elementary, he helped to develop Building Cultural Bridges, an incredible program that advocated for cultural inclusion and connected students to their local symphonies and operas but also with musicians and fellow students singing together from all around the world.
Music was the connector, and Seth was one of the conductors at the helm.
“Music has changed my life,” says Seth, who first picked up a clarinet at nine years old and went on to sing as a tenor with the Houston Symphony Orchestra, the Houston Symphony Chorus as well as the Boston Symphony Orchestra and directing many church choirs. “I cannot get through a day without listening to music – I have a constant soundtrack playing in my head. For me, it is a coming-together place. Choir and music are my community.”