Thaddeus Price starts his day by setting a goal with God. “God,” he asks, “Help me make you smile today.” He strives to make God smile through serving mankind. He does this as a teacher. A teacher of music. To Thaddeus music is the beat of the universe and it’s been making him smile since he was 3 years old and started playing the piano.
Thaddeus describes himself as a non-conventional teacher. He treats his lesson plan more like a blueprint. He knows what he wants to accomplish during a specific class, but he’s not locked in. He is always searching for those teachable moments. Those moments when a student makes that critical connection that the music Beethoven created in the 18th century relates to the music of today. Do you know what happens when a student makes that connection? They usually smile.
He may be a music teacher, but in his classroom the students learn about life. How music is a science. It’s sound waves and fusion of styles. Quarter notes. Half notes. Rhythm and beats. You need to know math if you’re going to understand music. In Thaddeus’ class you learn it’s not just notes on a page or learning how to carry a tune. Through music his students learn about different cultures and language. They study masterpieces in writing through the lyrics of song. For some students their musical education brings them a better understanding of the subjects they study, for others music becomes a part of them. Thaddeus soon found out that these kids wanted more than what he could deliver in the classroom. As the gym class hero has a basketball team to join, Thaddeus realized there were kids who needed an outlet for music. He wanted to create something for the community, not just an after school program. The Milford Mill Concert Chorale was the solution and this solution made many kids smile.
The Milford Mill Concert Chorale* is an ensemble of young people from the Milford Mill community of Baltimore, Maryland. The Concert Chorale performs everything from classical, jazz to contemporary music. Thaddeus writes and arranges original songs for the chorale as well. The Milford Mill Concert Chorale is particularly noted for their gospel singing. These songs are the “message music” of the African American community or as Thaddeus likes to say, this music is “soul food.”
In their thirteenth year, Thaddeus has grown the Concert Chorale to be more than a vehicle to explore music. The Concert Chorale provides a safe haven for hundreds of kids. Thaddeus and the choir have a motto that drives them: Discipline, dedication and determination will lead you to excellence and excellence must always be your expectation.” They live their motto and their excellence is mirrored back to them in the smiles on the faces of the audiences they perform for and the community they serve.
Thaddeus has also taught his kids how to dream big. A few years ago, Thaddeus set a goal. He told the kids that in 2013, the Milford Mill Concert Chorale would be singing in Europe. He didn’t how or where, but he knew in his heart that it would happen. Thaddeus blended his facilitation magic with some prayer and as they say in France “voila.” He’ll need to brush up on his French, because in 2013 Thaddeus and Milford Mill Concert Chorale will get the opportunity to perform in the City of Lights. They are ready to bring their energy, excellence and some smiles to the people of Paris.
In the liner notes from the CD of the Concert Chorale’s seventh season, the choir thanks Thaddeus. They write, “Thank you for being there, for being our teacher, brother, father, mentor, counselor and friend.”
When you read a statement like that, can there be any doubt that Thaddeus is making God smile?
SOUL Survey Questions
- How do you stay focused and motivated?
God keeps me motivated – I remember Him and I sense His divine purpose for my life and it keeps me focused on the task at hand.
- How do you deal with naysayers?
I have the power and ability to hear and see what I want to hear and see and even if something is thrust upon me to see or hear, it is up to me to receive or reject it. Naysayers are negative; I reject the negative as much as possible.
- How do you blur the lines between work and play?
The great part is when work becomes play! When work is such a joy that it no longer feels like work – oh what great moments! I’m focused on the work at hand and I try to keep it fun!
* – For information and performance schedule, please call 410-922-SING (7464) or email the choir at firstname.lastname@example.org