Nelson, Lindquist bring determination, structure to choir program

New directors end winter-season mayhem, work toward promising future


Julian Magee

The girls Chamber choir competed in the concert portion of UIL competition, earning perfect marks and joining the rest of the choirs with sweepstakes.

Being back at school after a hectic finale to McCallum Choir’s first semester, students have been relieved to find a new normal, following what seems to be a stable change in direction. Returned to the program as a temporary, permanent, full time, part time, “whatever it’s called” director is Malcolm Nelson, who upperclassmen may recognize helping out at Cabaret during Mrs. Kashdan’s time at McCallum.

“So far I’ve been having a really good time,” Mr. Nelson said. “I enjoy teaching a group of people that want to get better and sing pretty music. It’s what I’ve done all my life.”

An entirely fresh face for the program is Cheryl Cellon Lindquist, filling Mr. Mabry’s shoes of being the program’s assistant director and accompanist.

“I have taught choir on all levels for many years, from the elementary level to college level,” Dr. Lindquist said. “Most of my time has been spent on the latter. I really appreciate the welcome that all the students have given me, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the semester.”

This is not the first time that Nelson and Lindquist have partnered up to direct. In fact, their history teaching together goes back to the ‘90s.

“I have known Mr. Nelson for a very long time,” Lindquist mentioned. “Many years ago, I was the choir director at David Crockett High School, and Mr. Nelson was my mentor.”

“Dr. Lindquist and I worked together about 24 years ago, and we’ve always wanted to do it again.” Nelson said. “Then this opportunity came for us to both be here.”

We want to squeeze a full year of activities into one semester so that you don’t miss anything.”

— choir director Malcolm Nelson

Following last semester’s unorthodox structure, Nelson wants to ensure satisfaction in the student experience.

“We really want you to enjoy your semester and for you to learn a fair amount of music, and we want to squeeze a full year of activities into one semester so that you don’t miss anything.”

“Our goal is to help all of the students in choir to reach their full potential,” Lindquist said. “We want to make them feel good about what they’re doing, gain their confidence, and to make them the best musicians that they can be.”

On March 7 and 8, every choir went to be evaluated at the UIL Concert and Sightreading contest, and all five who went scored the highest possible score, earning McCallum sweepstakes across the board.

“Dr. Lindquist and I are incredibly proud of the group,” Nelson said. “There were two schools that took five choirs, and we were the only school that made five sweepstakes. It’s only because everyone finally bought into our style of teaching that everyone’s abilities came through.”

The future of this semester is looking bright with Nelson and Lindquist focusing on fitting the schedule of past years into one semester, in order to give kids a worthwhile experience.

What the choir will begin work on after spring break is a semi-Major Works concert. “It’ll be a bit shorter than normal, but at least then everyone will be exposed to that kind of music. Finally, in May, we’re going to do Cabaret, which will be around 105 minutes long instead of the usual 150 just so that we can fit everything in.”

With the chaos of the program dying down, even if only temporarily, the rest of the year is looking stable.

“I’ve missed this quite a bit,” Nelson said. “It’s nice to be back.”