HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Out of the mouths of youth, orderly tucked away in a corner of the Ann H. Kilgore Gifted Center in Hampton, come fountains of song. One can see exuberance bubbling beneath cloth masks and warm smiles of young faces under the guidance of Amanda Galloway.
At the head of her 7th grade chorus and musical theatre group, Galloway sets the tone and tempo of her class before letting it all go.
“I love organized chaos,” Galloway says, smiling. “I thrive in chaos! If you present structured activities in a way that they have fun doing them, they’re going to fall into that structure.”
7th grader Bailey Butler offers this simple truth often found among the young, “Cause you don’t want a boring chorus class, so having fun and energy is the best part about her.”
Galloway has taught music and chorus for six years, with her roots coming from traditional theater stock in New York.
Hampton City Schools offered this endorsement of Galloway’s teaching skills and empathetic character:
“She truly is one of the hardest working teachers in the building, touching many students’ lives and, through the arts, making students better learners, citizens, and human beings. She orchestrates musical concerts throughout the year spotlighting her talented students. These concerts are performed in school and throughout the community.”
When asked if she is a frustrated actress who resorted to teaching to survive, Galloway shakes her head smiling in defiance, “Nope, this is what I always wanted to do. I loved music and chorus growing up, and I never really saw myself doing anything different. From 12 years old, I knew I was going to be a chorus teacher.”
You could say Galloway’s classroom is a really a stage, and a famous man once said the same is true of the world. One could argue it’s fertile ground for life’s lessons.
“I tell the kids all of the time, music is like sports. You have to all be 100 percent invested, and give it your 100 percent. Everyone is going to rely on each other at some point.”
And the bonds developed here? Brian Ranger Jr., who loves music and theater, also developed a fondness for the patience and dedication displayed by his mentor. “When I go to high school, I hope she comes with me. I don’t want to have new teachers. I want her.”
Galloway simply shrugged when told about Brian’s request, but also feels a little separation anxiety for ALL of her students.
“I have them 3rd through 8th grade, so when they leave me it’s traumatizing.”
And then there’s motivating young minds and hearts, and challenges that come with it.
“So somedays it’s super frustrating. I won’t lie. There’s days when the kids just don’t want to do it. Or something goes wrong. But It’s so fulfilling when you have a performance that goes right.”