Jacob Chippo Joins Bird Middle School Staff

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Jacob Chippo Joins Bird Middle School Staff

Erin Foley and Renee Abbott

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In the 2018-2019 school year, Bird Middle School (BMS) welcomed a new teacher into their music program, Jacob Chippo, a graduate from Rhode Island College (RIC) who now teaches chorus for grades six, seven and eight, as well as general music. Chippo is the replacement for Kimberly Calandrelli, who previously worked at both middle schools and now only works at Johnson Middle School (JMS). After studying at Rhode Island College for Music Education and Music Performance, Chippo will be finishing his first year BMS this June.

“The students really care about their work and they care about each other, and the faculty really supports each other. I couldn’t ask for a nicer place to work for my first job. Everybody’s been really sweet,” Chippo said.

Growing up in Winsacat, Rhode Island, Chippo accredited his initial love of music to his mother, as she sang frequently around the house. As a teen, he admired the voice of Freddie Mercury from the band Queen, as well as the talented Celine Dion. While studying vocal performance and music education at RIC, Chippo developed a newfound love of classical music, which broadened his perspective on his major and even participating in an Opera workshop. Over his four years at RIC, he traveled abroad multiple times with his college chorus group. At RIC he got many opportunities from faculty that helped shape his career in music, including auditions and jobs. Chippo was the president and vice president of the RIC Concert Choir, vice president of a student led group “Tonally Awesome,” and treasurer of the RIC National Association for Music Education.

“There were a lot of opportunities, and I did my best to take advantage of them. There were certainly a lot of things that music students at RIC can do if they go for them,” Chippo said.

At BMS, each chorus class is a combination of vocal warm-ups, sight reading and practice for performances. Students not only learn how to sing, but also how to properly take care of their voices, and read music notation. Chippo worked with elementary students in college, and originally planned on working with very young students, but after also teaching at a middle school while he was studying music education, he realized his love for that age group.

“The growth you experience from sixth grade to eighth grade is just huge, and I think as a teacher it’s really cool to be a part of that growth and help them along the way,” Chippo said.

Chippo plans to remain at BMS because of such a positive first year, and the students appreciate his genuine enthusiasm for his job.

“I always tell my students they got to be a better version of themselves the next day and I think teachers have the same thing, as long as each day you’re a better version of yourself I think you’re doing something right,” Chippo said.