Musical Maestro: Dr. Micu
Who is the woman who gets the Bishop’s choirs concert ready?
December 18, 2019
“Jambo, Jambo B’wana,” sang the Bishop’s choirs this year at the Thanksgiving chapel. Whether at these all school chapels, various enrichments, or at the Christmas Tree Lighting, the choirs always seem to be singing to the crowds and making beautiful music. But what about the woman in charge of it all, Department Chair of Performing Arts and Director of Choral Music Dr. Christine Micu? Dr. Micu is dedicated to her job and is one of the key reasons the choir program continues to perform for audiences and succeed the way it does. Not only does she coach and direct the singers, but she also has a hand in the instrumental aspects that accompany their rehearsals; when the choirs need to warm up, she is more than capable of jumping in on the piano and play all the chords like a professional. Not to mention the fact that she supports every member of the choirs with her kind demeanor, and she is exceptionally passionate about what she does.
Dr. Micu first came to Bishop’s in 2015 after her move to San Diego had her “commuting 100 miles each way to teach music education at California State University Long Beach.” Her interview for the position was on Valentine’s Day, and after seeing that the teacher’s mailroom was filled with chocolate, she said she knew that Bishop’s was somewhere she would love to work at. But chocolate isn’t the only reason that Dr. Micu loves Bishop’s. “I never cease to be amazed at what a passionate group of young people can accomplish together when they put their minds and passion behind it,” she explained. “Young people really can change the world – through music, or science, or service – through whatever they are passionate about.”
Dr. Micu found her career path after making a tough decision about her future, choosing between medical school and music. However, when a teacher from her high school in Upstate New York asked her, “If you could imagine one day of your life without one or the other of those things, which would it be?” she knew that her choice would be music.
A person who Dr. Micu shared her passion for music with was the beloved Accompanist Mr. Jarod Jacobsen, who recently passed away. The choir concert, “A Musical Celebration of Mr. J,” took place from December 13 to December 14 and was a celebration in his memory. Dr. Micu said that her favorite song to conduct was “Let My Love Be Heard,” by Jake Runestad, saying, “I love the message of that song, and it probably reminds me the most of Mr. J. He will live on in all of the people whose lives he has touched, and I will always miss my friend. I think this concert was a way for us to try to stop being sad about that, and celebrate the joy he brought us, and the positive ways he changed us for the better.”
Dr. Micu has planned an amazing year of singing this year for the Bishop’s choirs. “Our spring concert is going to celebrate the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage by featuring the work and stories of women.” Dr. Micu explained. The concert will feature many female poets and composers. She carried on, saying “One thing I am really excited about is the piece we have commissioned by a transgender composer that is about the Radium Girls” The Radium Girls were factory workers during World War 1 who handled radium paint, despite the fact that they were not informed that radium was deadly. The Radium Girls started to pass away, one at a time, due to the amounts of radium they were exposed to. Their forgotten story is just an example of one that the Bishop’s choirs will be singing about at the spring concert, from May 20-22. Although it is several months away, it is something exciting to look forward to this new year.
Dr. Micu is an essential part of the Performing Arts Program at Bishop’s, and her kindness to students is equally as important. “I’ve worked with Dr. Micu for about four years now, and the entire time I have worked with her she has encouraged me endlessly,”explained Bishop’s Singers member Haha Shi (‘22). “She has always been positive, supportive, and kind, and always pushes me to try my best in everything I do.” Flavia Valente (‘22) agreed with this sentiment, saying, “She encourages us to sing with our hearts open and share the joy of singing with the audience.”
Not only does Dr. Micu help students to try their best and succeed musically, but also to find their own community at Bishop’s. “Starting in Bishops Singers as one of two freshman was a really nerve wracking experience for me and Dr. Micu helped me feel like I belong. She helped me feel more confident with my voice and like I have a place in this choir,” explained Maddie Ishayik (‘23). Sean Kim (‘21) said, “Every moment spent with Dr. Micu is special to me. Whether it’s at a choir lesson or running into her at the beach, Dr. Micu always manages to brighten my day.”
Dr. Micu is a teacher, mentor, and friend. She continues to teach her students all about music, but also shares important lessons that she herself learned when she was around our age. As Allura Brown (‘21) said, “She told me personally that if I have trouble deciding what to do for college—because I pretty much want to study everything—that if I can’t live a day without it, it should be my career.”