Photos and article by Amy Haggerty
Music is therapeutic and can help people cope with the stress of everyday life. Thanks to Carol Hatch, a love of music is evident in the successful Stockbridge High School choir. But that’s not all. Hatch is that special person who is all over the district, teaching her number one love–choir–to students in second grade, sixth through eighth grade, and ninth through 12th grade. This year she is also teaching a beginning piano class to seventh graders.
“I love our community of students and parents. Administrators, teachers, and staff in our district have been loyal and supportive from the beginning,” Hatch says. “I have been able to build my choral program through the years with encouragement and compassion.”Hatch grew up in St. Clair Shores, a suburb of Detroit, and later moved to Lansing’s Waverly Community School District area. She graduated from Michigan State University with a bachelor’s degree in music education. She then attended Spring Arbor College to study Piano/Vocal Pedagogy and earned a master’s degree in music from Western Michigan University.
Hatch married and had two children, Jeffrey and Kristi. She also raised a third child, Ryan Dershem.
“They are all grown and have wonderful children of their own,” Hatch noted.
According to Hatch, love of music was a family affair from the time she was young. Since high school, Hatch has taught private lessons in piano and voice, and she credits her mother for being a natural educator with skills in occupational therapy.
“She taught me to sew and cook and encouraged me with leadership skills,” Hatch explained.
Hatch credits her father with influencing her piano skills and mentioned he was also a tap dancer. Her aunt was her piano teacher from the time Hatch was 8 years old, and her grandparents passed down their love of classical, contemporary, opera, and Broadway music. She cherishes her all-time favorite memories of attending the Fisher Theater and experiencing Mary Poppins, Peter Pan, The Sound of Music, Babes in Toyland, and Oklahoma.
Music is her love and passion, and helping students learn to love music is gratifying to her. Hatch began her Stockbridge teaching career in 2001. She learned of the job in Stockbridge from a retired teacher in the district who phoned Hatch and said Stockbridge was in need of a choir director at the high school. She asked if Hatch would be interested.
“I said yes, and the rest is history!” Hatch exclaimed.
“I love our community of students and parents. Administrators, teachers, and staff in our district have been loyal and supportive from the beginning. I have been able to build my choral program through the years with encouragement and compassion.”
The Stockbridge Choirs have had the opportunity to participate in various festivals and competitions, often receiving high honors and acclaim. Hatch recently took her high school choirs to Italy, and this summer they are headed to Ireland. There, Hatch will be awarded honors in choral directing. She is also working on a trip to take her high school choir students back to Chicago for the Windy City Choral Festival in 2020.
While focused on teaching, Hatch keeps the following mantra in mind: “Be kind to everyone and always work hard to do your best.”