Grammy-Caliber Teaching at MCTC

Choir Director Liz Pauly directing at the Choir Retreat at MCTC on Sept. 19, 2015. Photo by Sydney Foster/City College News

Tim Marino
Contributor

You may not know that MCTC has a professor who has won a Grammy, but even more fulfilling is her work with her students.
Dr. Elizabeth Pauly teaches Music Theory, Intro to Music, and is the conductor of the choirs at MCTC. “I love working with the students, they are enthusiastic, they have talent, they are committed, and their passion is incredible.” “Liz” has energy and a positive attitude that is infectious.
Dr. Pauly was always around music growing up. Her parents played folk music, her mother playing baritone ukulele, and her father playing guitar. She recalled stories of harmonizing with her sister while doing dishes, and singing communally growing up. She listened to artists like Judy Collins, Harry Bellefonte, and classical music like Vaughan Williams. She got her doctorate of Musical Arts in Vocal Arts from the University of Minnesota to go along with other degrees obtained at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Viterbo University, and began working at MCTC in 1997.

Practicing the song "How Can We Keep From Singing?" with a special verse written just for the MCTC Choirs, at MCTC on September 19, 2015.
Practicing the song “How Can We Keep From Singing?” with a special verse written just for the MCTC Choirs, at MCTC on September 19, 2015. Photo by Sydney Foster/City College News

Besides teaching, she sang and recorded with many different choral groups. During that time, she won the 2000 Grammy with the Oregon Bach Festival for their recording of Krzysztof Penderecki’s Credo. She currently sings with the Minnestoa Chorale.
On the value of arts education, she believes that it connects all parts of the brain, developing empathy, critical thinking, the ability to self-critique your work, and in ensemble the ability to work collectively. “[In music ensemble] the whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” she said. In a community college, one of the more difficult things to manufacture is involvement and being involved. But as she says on her website, “When you sing with the choirs at MCTC you are not just coming to a class – you are part of a community.”
She said the following advice to all prospective teachers, “Go to school, get a day job, and love what you do.”