Morris Knolls Faculty Spotlight: Michael Semancik

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DENVILLE, NJ-- The choral program at Morris Knolls is one of the most popular clubs currently offered at the high school. From concerts to unique trips, the kids involved in the Morris Knolls High School choir get treated to some once in a lifetime opportunities.

Of course, these concerts and trips would not happen without a strong director. The man who makes this all possible, Michael Semancik, has been directing the choir for the last seven years.

Semancik, who earned his degree from Slippery Rock University in Music Education is certified to teach K-12. He also has a Master's degree from University of Deleware in Choral Conducting. Morris Knolls is not his first teaching job though. He first began teaching in the Baltimore area before moving to Knolls seven years ago. 

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"I knew I wanted to get into teaching music ever since I started playing trumpet in the 4th grade. I just stuck with it," Semancik said.

Semancik currently conducts the Chorale, the Concert Choir, the Madrigals, Women's Choir, and Men's Choir. He has some pretty big aspirations for the future of the Morris Knolls Choral Music department. In the future, Semancik would love to see the choir and orchestra work together.

"I would love to be able to perform a major work with an orchestra. Our orchestra program just started though, so that is a little bit in the future," 

This summer, Semancik will be heading to France for a Choral Music Symposium. While in France, Semancik will have the oppurtunity to conduct music with both a chorale and orchestra. He will also be travelling there partly on his students dime. The students, who are incredibly fond of their Director, raised enough money to pay for Semancik's air travel to France. Semancik will travel however before the Morris Knolls graduation ceremony.

"Through the University of Delaware, they have a summer symposium in France for music that’s two weeks long. I’ll be one of the four conductors there and I’ll get to work with an orchestra for the second week. At first my seniors were sad that I’ll be missing graduation, but they were so supportive of me and they told me it was an opportunity that I had to take,”

Semancik's and his students share a mutual respect. He has an open door policy for his office hours, and If any student needs to talk, he's there for them. He wants to help them figure out their problems or try to lend a suggestion, or even just be a supportive ear.

Semancik always comes back to the kids. throughout his interview with TAP, each answer he gave had some mention of his students.

"The best part about this job is the kids. They make it so enjoyable."

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