New Chorus Teachers: Mr. Joey Baham & Mrs. Tami Pettingell
Toward the middle of the school year, God has called Mr. McCaw, previous middle and high school Chorus teacher, over to Ocean’s Edge School. So, who would be teaching the CCA chorus classes? Students wanted to know. We went behind the scenes and deep into the CCA Performing Arts arena to find out. The following is an exclusive interview with CCA’s new music teachers, Mrs. Tami Pettingell and Mr. Joey Baham.
Interview with Mrs. Tami Pettingell
AKG: Did you study music in college, and if so, where?
TP: I went to BCC for two years and then spent three years at Palm Beach Atlantic University. I started as a music major and took all my singing classes, ensemble classes, music theory classes, and all my teaching classes. But I developed nodules on my vocal cords, and I had to go on vocal rest for three months. That made it hard to be a singer/music major, so I figured that God had another plan. I changed my major from music to education, since I had been planning to use my major and finished most of my music degree as well.
AKG: How did music start becoming a part of your life?
TP: Well, I took chorus classes all the time, I sang in church choirs and music choirs, and everything about it appealed to me; the friendships, the camaraderie, all giving me new words to worship the Lord. It gave me a new appreciation for the words, the beauty of the melody and of intricate harmonies.
AKG: How did God lead you to Calvary?
TP: When she was still in middle school, my oldest daughter transferred from Bethany, and went to Pine Crest. She wanted to leave that school because she really wanted to go to a Christian school. Because her best friend, Grace Tacquard, was a student here, we toured the school and absolutely fell in love with it. She said that in two months here she made more friends than she ever did in her five years in Pine Crest. And when the rest of my kids outgrew Bethany, since it stopped at middle school, I came back and toured again. Five minutes within the tour I knew that God wanted all of us here at Calvary. And eventually we moved all four of our remaining kids here.
AKG: What were you doing before you made the crossover to teaching middle/high school chorus classes?
TP: I was working in the Fine Arts Office assisting Sheri Hecocks with productions. I was the musical director for Annie, I directed a kids choir for church at Christmas time, as well as the kids choir for Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat. I did shopping for props and costumes for plays, kept the budgets for the plays, and I was a substitute teacher for music classes.
AKG: What exactly are you doing in the high school classes?
TP: I’ll be working on the music theory and the advanced music theory in class, as well as teaching the parts. Meanwhile, Joey will be working on more of the performance aspect of it; the conducting, and the polishing of the songs.
AKG: Will this be the same set up next year?
TP: Yes, it will. We really enjoy working together and it seems like a good use of both our talents. We have a different set of strengths and different musical abilities that we bring to the table.
AKG: Anything you would like to add?
TP: Well, I wasn’t expecting this. When I first got a job here, they offered me a teaching position because of all my teaching credentials. I said no, because I didn’t feel called at all to the classroom. I didn’t understand why, since I love it so much. But looking back I realized that if I had taken a teaching job, I would have been far, far removed from this.
Interview with Mr. Joey Baham
AKG: Where are you from?
JB: I am from Carson, California.
AKG: Did you study music in college?
J.B. No, I actually was never formally educated in music through college, even though I’ve been doing it all my life. It’s more of learning by experience.
AKG: How did God lead you to Calvary?
JB: I got tricked into coming to Calvary on a Wednesday night. A friend of mine asked me what I was doing, and me thinking that we were going to head to a club, I said, “no I’m not doing anything, let’s go hang out!” It was back when we were doing late night services here, so at eight thirty and night I ended up at a warehouse. I saw this guy who looked like Martin Short, up there preaching, and I was like, “whoa, this is kind of funny!” But I enjoyed the service and the music, and I’ve been here ever since—about eighteen years ago.
AKG: What were you doing before you made the crossover helping high school chorus classes?
JB: I am the choir director at the Calvary Chapel church. I just brought that over to the high school and started helping out. So I went from teaching adults, to teenagers.
AKG: So, what prompted this crossover?
JB: One time I was asked to take over a class while the teacher was going out of town. So, Pastor Clay and I went down and just worked on a couple songs with the kids and I ended up really enjoying it. Later I was asked if I wanted to take over for the teacher, since he was going to be working full time with Ocean’s Edge. It just worked out that I was able to fill in and teach the high school classes.
AKG: Will this set up continue next year?
JB: Most definitely. I plan on teaching as long as God allows.
AKG: So you’re teaching all the high school classes along with Mrs. Tami?
JB: Absolutely—not like math or science, but Chorus high school classes.
AKG: What exactly are you doing with them? Like teaching different styles and genres and stuff like that?
JB: I am trying to bring more of worship songs into what we’re doing, as well as music theory and choral type of stuff. But believing that our mission statement is to make disciples, I believe that we can do that through music. That’s an area that everybody listens to, and everybody is captured by. So I think that if we incorporate some of the choral stuff, get in some worship and gospel, we can break out of the four walls of the campus and reach more people. We can capture them with music, and give them the Gospel through music.