By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Westborough – As the new district fine arts director for kindergarten through 12th grade in the Westborough Public Schools, Christopher Martin appreciated participating with students and faculty in the sixth annual Arts in Common this past fall.
“Being new here, I got to see the cultural scene in Westborough right off the bat in September,” he said. “When I saw this community-wide arts festival, it further solidified my knowing that this is the right place for me to be. It was great meeting the Westborough Cultural Council and all the different community arts groups.”
Martin developed an interest in the arts through school programs while growing up in Lindenhurst, N.Y. He began in fourth grade by learning to play the trumpet and later the euphonium, as well as singing in choruses. In high school, he became more involved in extracurricular activities including show choir, theatrical productions, and jazz and marching bands.
“I got a wide variety of experience in all avenues in high school,” he recalled. “It lit the spark in me when I saw the community that the arts created and finding a circle of friends there.”
Also in high school, he was inspired by his band and choral directors. He credits them for fostering his interest in pursuing a career in music education.
Martin earned a master’s degree in music education, and a bachelor’s degree in music education and vocal performance at Ithaca College.
“What I gained from my time at Ithaca was developing my own philosophy of what I want a fine arts program to be,” he said. “It’s an all-inclusive program with lots of opportunities for kids. There are so many diverse experiences in the fine arts department that there’s something for everybody.”
In Westborough, he oversees drama, music and visual arts within the curriculum, and dance as an extracurricular activity.
Martin taught in Norwood from 2005 through last school year. He instructed chorus in grades six through eight, and voice and theater in grades nine through 12.
“I really enjoyed working with the kids and seeing them have those ‘aha’ moments as they’re growing,” he said. “Still, my greatest satisfaction comes from the students’ accomplishments.”
From 2008 through 2013, Martin worked on the staff of the vocal apprenticeship program at the Handel & Haydn Society in Boston. To complement its ensemble, he built a sight reading and music theory curriculum for students in grades three through 12.
“In Norwood, all of my curriculum was performance based, so it was a nice balance to add the theory aspect of music at the Handel & Haydn Society,” he noted. “Also, it let me work with elementary school kids, so it provided me experience with more breadth of age groups.”
Martin has been an executive board member of the Massachusetts Music Educators Association (MMEA) for four years and is currently serving as its concert chair. In that role, he’s organizing over 450 students for concerts to be presented at Symphony Hall in March at the conclusion of the MMEA All-State Conference. He previously served as MMEA concert manager.
Additionally, he’s in his second year as artistic director of the Neponset Choral Society based in Foxborough, which rehearses two evenings weekly and produces two concerts annually.
To prepare for the transition from teaching to administration, Martin had recently completed the administrative licensure program at Boston University. He’s grateful that his current position became available.
“Fine arts directorships aren’t that common in Massachusetts,” he noted. “Being connected to the music community, I always knew that Westborough has a strong fine arts program. I wanted to be a part of it.”