Major: Elementary Education with a concentration in history
Favorite weekend activity: Running, playing piano
Career Plans: Teach music
When I first started, I said I wanted to be a high school Chorale and Chamber Singers director. But after doing lots of observations in elementary schools, I thought I'd want to work with kids because they seem really inspired and happy and that inspires me. I like that Johnson allows you a lot of observation time in schools, because you can see exactly what's going on in school.
If you’ve ever attended a ceremony to welcome home the Vermont National Guard, you may have heard the Vermont 40th Army Band - and Jennel Molleur on clarinet.
Right out of high school, Jennel joined the National Guard, and she fulfills her duty by practicing and performing with the band. Started as the 1st Infantry Band in 1907, the 40th Army Band tours in and outside of Vermont, playing at parades, schools, community gatherings and military ceremonies.
At Johnson State, Jennel also has found her niche in the performing arts, joining the Choir and Chamber Singers. Most recently, she toured with the JSC Chamber Singers on spring break, performing throughout New England, including schools in the Boston area.
Music is what drew her to Johnson State in the first place. “Steven Light was my middle and high school band director. He told me Johnson had a great music program,” she recalls. “He’s a music education instructor at Johnson State, and he’s really helped me out. He’s passionate about music, and he inspires his students. He’s also passionate about teaching. He’s very calm and reflective, and that resonates with me.”
Through Johnson State’s Music Education Licensure Program, Jennel has spent many hours observing in classrooms in Cambridge, Hinesburg and Stowe. What she saw there influenced her choice of career.
“When I first started, I said I wanted to be a high school Chorale and Chamber Singers director,” she says. “But after doing lots of observations in elementary schools, I thought I’d want to work with kids because they seem really inspired and happy, and that inspires me. I like that Johnson allows you a lot of observation time in schools, because you can see exactly what’s going on in school.”
When she’s not practicing or performing, Jennel still finds herself at the piano, playing around with new sounds and configurations. She likes everything from Chopin to the Dave Matthews Band - and sometimes finds herself hearing connections where others might not.
“I like remaking music from The Offspring, a punk rock band, and trying to figure it out for piano,” she explains.
She also spends time as a resident assistant, planning everything from waffle breakfasts to tie-dying events. “It’s helped me get to know the students here a lot better,” Jennel says, “and forming a closer community.”
And Jennel clearly recognizes the benefits of Johnson State’s location and size. “I can go off on a dirt road and see some cows or deer in a field. At a lot of other college campuses, you can’t do that,” she says. “And I like the size of campus. You can walk around and see everyone you know. You definitely can connect with people better because of the size.”