Choir welcomes new assistant director


Laurie Carrillo

Assistant Choir Director Kimberly Dillow sits at a piano in the choir room. Dillow has begun teaching as a new assistant director this school year.

Laurie Carrillo, Staff Writer

With a wave of her hand and a flick of her wrist, 160 voices rise into chorus. Altos, sopranos, basses, and tenors come together in a melodious harmony at the direction of a new conductor.

The choir program recently welcomed a new assistant director, Kimberly Dillow, for the first time since the school opened.

“I’m really excited to be a part of TMHS,” Dillow said. “Everyone is happy to be here and has the real drive to work hard and be better.”

At Willow Wood Junior High, Dillow assists Choir Director Ms. Hank and leads the two men’s choirs. At TMHS, she supports Choir Director Jed Ragsdale and leads Concert Women and Bel Canto.

“It’s a lot of work but it’s all about finding balance,” Dillow said. “I tend to plan ahead, I’m an organized person.”

Dillow learned to love music at a young age. Her passion really took off when she joined her middle school choir, where an inspiring director motivated her success and encouraged her to take part in private voice lessons. Once in high school, she explored other options.

“Musical theater was my place in high school,” Dillow said. “It was then that I decided that I wanted to give back to my students the same thing I was given when I was a kid.”

Dillow taught middle school for 12 years until she began searching for a career change. She acted upon her desire to teach high school and chose TMHS, with Ragsdale as a solid role-model.

“I really wanted to work with a great mentor,” Dillow said. “It’s an opportunity to learn and grow for me as a teacher.”

Working with Ragsdale is an educational experience. Dillow enjoys watching his energy and passion for teaching, choosing to learn from it and emulate it as best she can.

“He has a really contagious fire for teaching,” Dillow said.

Dillow encountered the program’s hospitality early on when the choir leadership team gifted her a cookie cake at their summer social, allowing Dillow to become more comfortable in her new position.

“I feel really supported by the kids, leadership, and staff,” Dillow said. “It’s the most welcomed I’ve ever felt at any teaching job.”

In her new position, she aims to create a positive atmosphere for her students to feel appreciated and supported.

“I want to help all of the students in our program to develop into confident and strong musicians,” Dillow said. 

Since Ragsdale’s arrival at TMHS in 2016, the choir program has expanded greatly, steadily increasing in number of students every year. As a new addition, Dillow envisions the organization growing both in size and success, reaching beyond 200 students and reaching new heights with every award won.

“I hope to continue seeing the program be recognized at the state and national level,” Dillow said. 

Both Ragsdale and the students have expressed their happiness with Dillow’s presence and are very appreciative of her efforts. According to many, her organization and experience has made a great difference in the program.

“We all think she’s become a fundamental part of our program and we’re excited to share our traditions with her,” Choir President Larissa Carrillo said.