Degrees and Certifications:
Bachelor of Music Master of Music Music EC-12 Special Education EC-12
Mr. Ken Van Lysebettens - Director of Choirs - Ed White MS
Welcome to our Ed White MS Eagle Choir Program! My name is Mr. Van and this is my 3rd year in NEISD at Ed White Middle School as the Director of Choirs.
It is my privilege to be your choir director here at Ed White! My music journey began with singing in my church choir and playing in the band throughout middle and high school. Later I received a Bachelor of Music degree from the American Conservatory of Music and a Master of Music degree from DePaul University School of Music in Chicago, after which I embarked on a performance career that has spanned almost 40 years around the country as a professional musician/arranger/director.
While working as a professional musician, I began my career as a music educator in my hometown of Chicago in 1988. After teaching band, choir, drama and general music for 29 years, we moved to the San Antonio area in 2017 where I began teaching in the SCUC school district. In August of 2019 I accepted an invitation to teach in NEISD and became a member of the Ed White MS Eagles family and faculty as the Director of Choirs at Ed White Middle School.
In the fall of 2019 our Ensemble Choir, Concert Chorale and Chamber Ensemble groups performed a beautiful 'Celebration of Song' concert as well as our Veterans Day Concert, the PTA Concert performance and later a 'Winter Holiday Festival Concert' in December of that year. We also celebrated the holidays by sharing our music in performances around the area including the Brookdale Senior Living residence in San Antonio. Among many fun activities and field trips including our Fine Arts Family Fun Nights all throughout the year, we performed at our Region 12 UIL Concert and Sightreading Contest in February of 2020. Our spring concert was to follow the spring break in early March. With the pandemic closing down schools across the country, we never came back and the remainder of our spring sememster was to take place remotely . We would also spend the following 2020-21 school year in a hybrid state of remote/in-person learning. Refusing to surrender, we engaged in remote/in-person classes, rehearsed concert repertoire, recorded virtual concert selections, hosted two virtual Karaoke Coffee House events for solo choir member performances and hosted a hybrid Ed White Talent Show with in-person/virtual performers and audience, many of whom viewed it live on a Youtube broadcast!! Our Ed White students and teachers participated in over 30 performances, mostly in-person... it was 'OFF THE HOOK!!'...an AMAZING lift to the entire Ed White community.
However....WE'RE BACK!!!! We will be in-person from the beginning of the school year here at Ed White!!! Looking forward to seeing you all and hearing your voices! For those returning, I am pumped about seeing you all as we return to a normal, much needed singing and performance routine. For those that are incoming new members...WELCOME ONE AND ALL!!! So excited to meet you and have you sing with us!! FYI: Choir is a 'No Anxiety Zone'. We come to enjoy making music together and THAT'S WHAT WE'RE GONNA DO!! We will ease into the theory part a little each day but we want to focus on developing our voices and the listening skills that make us sound B-E-A-U-TIFUL together!!
So come one, come all and let's SING, SING, SING!!!
See you very SOON!! :)
Director of Choirs
Ed White Middle School
2021-22 Eagle Choir Class Schedule
(as of 8/19/21)
Mr. Van – Director of Choirs
Performing Arts Department
Concert Chorale (JV - 7th)
Concert Chorale (JV - 7th)
Chamber Singers (Varsity- 8th)
Concert Chorale (JV 6th/7th)
Ensemble Choir (Beginner 6th )
7th Period: (Lunch)
Ensemble Rehearsal (JV/Varsity)
Roosevelt Cluster PLC
Learning in the Ed White Eagle Choirs:
In our choir program we work throughout the year on all fronts of vocal pedagogy and techniques using our Rhythm Reader, SOS rhythm exercises and other sources to improve our understanding and performance of rhythms and counting as well as ensemble rhythmic performance at different levels. Believeing that sound crystalizes and anchors concepts if introduce prior to teaching concepts, the sightreading philosophy we operate on is a three-tier process: 1.) Sound before Sight 2.) Sound to Sight and, 3.) Sound at Sight. Our pitch and melodic sight reading skills are targeted in our SOS Sightreading exercises which we use in conjuction with the Sightreading Factory online app that has endless variations, length and levels of sightreading challenges and performance practice. We vary our warm-ups in range and difficulty based on the level of the students vocal skills, techniques and music .
Our choral groups are learning the importance of performance practices that develop not only understanding, performance skills and outstanding vocal techniques but also they develop musical independence empowering students in performance skills and confidence to take on increasingly greater challenges in the performing arts as well as requiring students to transfer knowledge (higher order/critical thinking skills) which in turn requires students to examine, compare, contrast, analyze and discriminate between things they see and hear. Performance skills also make students more efficient in rehearsal saving time in the process and excelerating learning as practices become an ingrained part of students' music making process and vocabulary opening the door to more advanced repertoire and nuanced concepts. Performance practices also embed expressivity into the learning process as an integral part instead of being an after thought.
Many of these foundational rules of choral singing and general rules for music may be found on our choir hall back wall right above the students at every rehearsal which we refer to in our daily choral warm-ups, drills and seasonal repertoire rehearsals as practical examples occur. These rules help students to form paradigms for proper vocal techniques that unify many of the blend issues that arise helping them to sing 'as one' with consistent tone quality and intonation. Rules for final consonants, punctuation, diphthongs, syllabic/word stress, the word 'the', final and internal R sounds, decreasing/increasing vocal parts, moving voice parts, the sluir, long tones, ascending and descending pitches, repeated pitches, repeated phrases or sections, suspensions, pick-up notes, motifs and themes. We also discuss, demonstrate examples of and rehearse proper rather than improper placement of the voice or head voice (vs. throat voice)
Our Eagle Choirs perform four all-program choral concerts in-house each year (Fall, Winter, Spring and EOY concerts) as well as holiday and special in-house performances (ie: Veterans Day, PTA Holiday Performance). We also perform off-campus during the school year (ie: Spurs games, Brookdale Senior Living). We also host fun activities like 'Bring A Friend Choir Nite', virtual Karaoke Coffee House Nites, school-wide talent shows and school musicals.
Lots to do and learn in the Eagle Choirs program so COME JOIN US and SING, SING, SING!!!
See you at the Eagle Choir Hall!
Director of Choirs
Eagle Ensemble Choir
Eagle Concert Chorale
Eagle Chamber Singers
Eagle Choir Hall: