Cherished Chorus Teacher Surprised at SHS Winter Concert

January 10, 2014

by AJ Dickinson

The Salem High School annual winter concert took place once again on Thursday, December 19.  The nearly two hour performance began, as it traditionally has in the past, with many powerfully entertaining performances from such Salem High musical groups as the Jazz Ensemble, Honors Chorus, Vocal Quintet and the combined choruses to name a few.

At the beginning of the show it was announced that Ellen Bosch, beloved teacher and mentor, would be retiring at the end of this school year after teaching at the high school since 1999.  In the middle of the event to her and the audience’s surprise, chorus department aide and graduate of 2008, Hudson Wells took the stage.  Hudson began to explain to the audience, as Mrs. Bosch watched from the side of the stage, of his transformation from a curious home-schooled boy to the man he became after walking through the music room doors at Salem’s public high school.  He went on by saying, “In my four years of chorus, Mrs. Bosch was so much more than a teacher to all of us and impacted so many in a powerful way.”  The act of gratitude that was shown to Mrs. Bosch did not end there as 100 past and present students flooded the theater hall.  The students took the stage in true “flash mob” style and began singing You Raise Me Up to their beloved teacher.  Tears soon flooded Mrs. Bosch’s face, as well as many members of the audience, as her students surrounded her in vocal harmony.  After the song was over, former student after former student took the microphone to tell their personal story of how the music department head changed their lives for the better.

Mrs. Bosch, who was very touched and surprised, had no idea what was in store for her that evening thanks to the organized secrecy of graduate Hudson Wells who had been planning the surprise since October.  “I don’t know how they kept it a secret,” said Bosch, “My God, what a tribute.”

Hudson reflected on the tribute by saying, “I visited Bosch occasionally throughout the years and last school year when we had some time she told me she was considering retiring that next year.  Immediately, I had an idea to do something for her.  My mind went to the movie Mr. Holland’s Opus.  Mr. Holland’s Opus was a 1995 American drama film Directed by Stephen Herek and was nominated a Golden Globe Award for best screenplay.  By thinking of an event that would give Bosch the appreciation that was due, Hudson began thinking of a flash mob style tribute due to its growing popularity.  After discussing his ideas with his former classmate and owner of the Barking Bean in Salem, Cassie Scofield, Hudson and Cassie worked out the details to the event.  Cassie graciously opened up her café for the students to practice once a week in the evening.  Soon after meeting with another former student and current music teacher of Nashua, Julia Kiley, the plans seemed to come together by the middle of October.  The former students on a mission soon had regular practices at the high school in Mr. Clausen’s band room to perfect their performance.  “We let few people outside of the alumni know about this event, “ said Hudson who continued explaining, “Since October I have been aiding Mrs. Bosch in her classroom once a week to keep an eye on things and plan accordingly, as well as to spend time with an amazing woman.”

Hudson ended his interview by stating, “Mrs. Bosch has been a teacher, mentor, mother and friend to so many.  She has gone out of her way to give guidance and counsel whenever and wherever it is needed.  Her life is dedicated to seeing students mature into adults with vision for their lives.  Many have entered that chorus room with no clue about their future and left feeling confident about who they are and their future.”

The amount of time and energy that Hudson Wells, as well as the many other former students, put into this tribute goes to show the power of Mrs. Bosch’s guidance, leadership and encouragement.  This great teacher was not only fully recognized by her former students for her many years of service to this community that night but will now always be remembered by the nearly 1000 audience members who witnessed the emotional tribute.