New Day Dawns with Herrington at the Helm of Choral Education

sarah-herrington.jpgPLAINVIEW – Few areas of higher education were affected more than music by the pandemic in 2020. Schools of music that weren’t shut down were still hampered by an inability to perform or rehearse in groups. As schools emerge from the cover of COVID, it’s plain to see that the landscape and future of music and music education has changed.

Dr. Ann Stutes, Dean of the School of Music at Wayland Baptist University, says it is imperative for music schools to adapt to the new environment. But while what lies ahead is still somewhat unknown, it is also exciting.

“We have a clean slate coming out of the pandemic to reconfigure, redefine, reenergize and completely recast what it means to be in higher education and training in the arts,” Stutes said.

At the center of that change for choral education at Wayland will be Dr. Sarah Herrington, who Stutes introduced as the university’s new Director of Choral studies.

Herrington is a familiar face at Wayland. She earned her bachelor’s degree from WBU in 2000, then went on to earn a master’s in vocal performance from Texas Tech University in 2005 and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in choral conducting from Tech in 2008. She served at Wayland as an adjunct professor of voice (2005-07) and director of the Wayland Singing Women (2010-12) and Spirit (2011-13) vocal ensembles.

Throughout her career, Herrington has taught public school and worked as an accompanist and collaborative pianist with the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA), Texas Choral Directors Association (TCDA) and Texas Tech University. She has served as accompanist or choral director for area churches, including First Baptist Church in Shallowater and Second Baptist Church in Lubbock. She has also served as director of the regional chapter of the Singing Women of West Texas for Texas Baptists.

Herrington, who spent the last nine years at Lubbock Christian University as an instructor of voice and collaborative pianist, said she is excited about returning to Wayland.

“There is such an amazing choral tradition here,” she said. “I see great potential and great excitement brewing around the choral program. It’s just a little gold mine of potential and possibility and I’m excited to see that develop.”

Stutes said Herrington has valuable experience with developing programs, and that will be important as Wayland moves into a post-pandemic educational environment.

“The experiences we bring to the community, to our Wayland students and to our music majors is going to be radically different. We don’t even know anymore what a concert is. We can’t even offer the same curriculum we used to offer, and Sarah understands that,” Stutes said. “She is going to pioneer choral music, along with her colleagues, for the 21st century.”

Herrington is looking forward to the challenge as she steps into what is already a quality program.

“I see myself as a developer -- as someone who steps in and takes what already has a great foundation and grows it,” she said. “This is a perfect situation for me.”

Herrington will officially begin on Aug. 1. She is married to former Wayland choral director Dr. Scott Herrington. They have two sons.