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Naes returns home to lead the next generation

For Claire Naes, sitting in the choir room at Farmington High School is nothing new. For four years, the choir room was a second home. But now, things are different. Naes is still a member of the choir…but instead of standing on a riser as a student, she is now in front as the director.

“In high school, kids are looking for a place they belong,” Naes said. “For me, it was music. It is where I found my place. Some kids were athletes, some were theater people. I was a music person. It was where I found my place.”

A graduate of the FHS class of 2006, Naes learned music in what many consider the music department’s golden age with Sue Bauche leading the choir and Kurt Bauche directing the band.

And now, Naes and her husband Elliot – who leads the Black Knight Marching Band and other instrumental instruction at the high school – are beginning another generation of a husband and wife team of fine arts instructors.

Under the tutelage of Sue and a few others, Naes found her voice and her passion.

“It is kind of interesting working with teachers that I actually had in school,” Naes said. “It will never be able to call them by their first name. But so much has changed. There are a lot of new faces and the building itself has changed so much.”

Part of that change is the addition of the new music wing the district built as part of the 2014 bond issue, which Naes believes helped her adjust to her new position.

“I think so much has changed that I don’t feel nervous,” Naes said. “There was a person (directing) between me and my choir director, so I didn’t immediately follow Sue. I think that would have made things difficult, so I am more excited than anything else to give back to the program that gave me so much.”

Although her love of music eventually led Naes back to being a Knight, it was a 10 year journey. Upon graduating from Farmington High School, Naes’ passion for music led her to the University of Missouri–Columbia where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Music Education in 2011.

Naes would begin her teaching career at the School of the Osage where she would teach middle school choir and general music while assisting with the high school choir.

After three years in Osage Beach, Naes would once again call Farmington home when she accepted a teaching position with Arcadia Valley and began teaching K-5 music.

But when an opportunity to return to Farmington and teach in the school district Naes grew up in came about, the choir director took over the award winning program at the beginning of the school year.

“I have now taught every grade level,” Naes said. “But I am looking forward to making music again. It is not to say elementary students cannot make music…it’s a different type of music. I am very excited about diving back into choral music and really making music that way.”

As the new high school choral director, Naes is excited about the new school year and what she can bring to the table of a program known throughout the state for its success.

“So much of what I want for my program is based on what I had as a student,” Naes said. “But there are some things, because of my experience as a teacher, I would like to see different from where it is now. I don’t want to make big changes. I like the structure. I like what our program has but what I would like to do is make smaller changes.”

In addition to her work at the high school, Naes will also being teaching boys’ choir at the middle school in the same room she spent countless hours during her childhood. That room was once occupied by her mother, Linda Huck, who retired from the district in 2015.

“It is really weird teaching in the same room as my mom did for so many years,” Naes said. “It is the same room, and it’s pretty much how I remember it. I used to help my mother do her bulletin boards before school started every year.”

As the year progresses, Naes will begin leaving her own personality on the program and begin fueling students, who are a lot like her when she was a student with a passion and desire for the gift of music.

For Claire Naes, coming to teach at Farmington High School was like a returning home after a long vacation. Naes, a 2006 graduate, took over the choir program at the beginning of the school year.  

For Claire Naes, coming to teach at Farmington High School was like a returning home after a long vacation. Naes, a 2006 graduate, took over the choir program at the beginning of the school year.  

Claire Naes gets her men's chorus started with some vocal exercises. Naes, who recently accepted the position of high school choir director, is a product of the Farmington music program. 

Claire Naes gets her men’s chorus started with some vocal exercises. Naes, who recently accepted the position of high school choir director, is a product of the Farmington music program. 

Craig Vaughn is a reporter for the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-518-3629 or at cvaughn@farmingtonpressonline.com                                                                                                                                   

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