Tiger Profile of the Week: Mrs. Jane Ellis
Ellis Returns to Ringgold
Starting Fresh with Ringgold’s Fine Arts
By Jaden Akins
Mrs. Jané Ellis is Ringgold High School's new chorus teacher, however, she is not entirely unfamiliar with Ringgold. For ten years, she taught at Ringgold Middle School and even graduated from Ringgold High twenty years ago. Before leaving RMS in 2013, she taught alongside Mr. K, putting on shows such as Annie and State Fair and leading the chorus to scores of straight ones at LGPE consistently throughout the years. Though she loves both, Mrs. Ellis enjoys teaching high school so much because the abilities of the students allow much more difficult music and material. While in high school, Ellis was a member of the band, taught by Mr. Christian. She had grown up around music. In addition to singing in the church choir, her father was a band director. Naturally, when the chorus program was introduced her senior year, she joined immediately. In time, events like All-State and District Honors Chorus led her to fall in love with singing. “They did things that I’d never done before- options I didn’t know that I had,” she shared, “and so whenever I got to do those things I just fell in love with singing. ...So, I went off to college hoping that one day I could come back and teach here. So it’s a dream come true.”
While attending All-State Chorus, Mrs. Ellis had an experience that completely turned her life around. She had previously received a scholarship to play in the band at Mercer. However, she met a director from that university who encouraged her to audition for their chorus. “So I did,” she said, “and by the end of my freshman year in college I dropped out of band and solely went to being a chorus student.” Later on in her college years, Jané’s voice teacher informed her that if she desired, she had a chance at being admitted to Juilliard. She was very passionate about performing, so she went to the audition and ended up receiving a scholarship. Although, by then she had fallen in love. So, rather than attending she chose to stay in her hometown and marry. The teachers Jané has had throughout her life, she says, have inspired her. “Especially, music teachers have changed my life in a big way. Mr. Christian was a mentor and a great impact in my life.” When asked how she felt about Mr. C’s retirement she replied, “I was sad! It’s the end of an era, I think.” Despite her sadness, however, she trusts Mr. Wright to go far and high with Ringgold High School’s band.
Mrs. Ellis takes great pride in her career. She uses her talent and past experiences to inspirit each class of students that she has. When directing musicals, she often thinks of those productions she was a part of, such as "Bye Bye Birdie" in her senior year of high school. She revealed, “I think, probably, the only thing better than singing and being in a musical is teaching someone else to sing well or teaching someone else to do what you love. And for them to love what you love is-it’s just the best job.” Jané loves her job and wants her students to be recognized for their hard work. She went on to speak about choir competitions within Georgia, “I think that- as a chorus anyway- our name is not known in the district and in the state like on a larger level that Ringgold High School’s really got a chorus that you should hear and I- that cuts me deep! Because we certainly have the talent to be [known], so I want our name to be more out in the community.”
Fine Arts is about to change at Ringgold High School thanks to Mrs. Ellis. She intends to break new ground by introducing new events, bringing back old ones, and even collaborating with Mr. Wright and the band more so than usual. This year she plans to take students to the Literary Meet, a competition where two soloists, a quartet, and a trio compete against other schools in the district. Winners go on to compete statewide. In November, the chorus and band will hold a Veteran’s Day concert together. Other events and groups she hopes to continue and add are One Act Play, A Cappella, and show choir competition. Mrs. Ellis hopes that the program will reach new heights and provide new opportunities to musicians at RHS. The spring musical has officially been announced. Ringgold High School will be putting on The Addams Family, something completely different for the program. Coincidentally, its originality is what compelled Jané to choose the show. “I like that it’s totally different, so we haven’t done anything like that before. I wanted something that was unique, and the music is super catchy and fun. Each character, their music kind of goes with their personality. So, the style of music changes with each character, so it’s unique and I think it’s going to be really fun to play.” Unlike Mr. Moore, Jané has chosen to direct the production herself. “I like that it’s totally something that I can be proud of.” However, she does intend to bring in acting coaches to assist along the way, possibly including Ms. Kim, who directed RHS’ productions of Into the Woods and Bye Bye Birdie. Auditions will be held on December 13th and 14th and materials required will be announced closer to date.
The 2016-2017 school year is proving to be an exciting one for the Fine Arts program at Ringgold. Mrs. Ellis’ new perspective will certainly keep students engaged and on their toes as they wait to find out what the year will bring to them. The teacher herself is enthusiastic as well. “I’m excited! I’m excited to be here. I know that Mr. Moore’s shoes, they’re big shoes to fill, but I’m gonna work my hardest to do so. … I don’t think there’s anything that I’m as passionate about … because I feel like music’s my life. … Nobody loves this school more than me, so I’m excited to have something to be proud of and for the students to be proud of.” With Mrs. Jané Ellis’ talent and dedication, everyone in the state is sure to be proud of Ringgold High School’s chorus.
The Fall Chorus Concert is Thursday, October 6 at 7:00 p.m. in the RHS Theater.