by Audrey Wentz | Submitted Photos
Drum roll, please…
History is being made in the band room at St. Mary’s Central High School. Anne (Jundt) Chambers is the first woman to serve as a high school band director in the Bismarck-Mandan area. She started in August and is right at home in the school; adding a little more pep while she is there.
A native of Bismarck, Chambers graduated in 2007 with honors from SMCHS. While in high school, Anne earned the honor of first chair in the SMCHS Wind Orchestra under the direction of Mr. William J. Schmidt. As a clarinetist, she was principal player for four consecutive years in the North Dakota High School All-State Band and Orchestra. In her senior year, she received the John Philip Sousa Award in recognition of her musical talent and leadership.
Anne received her Bachelors of Music Education and Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education degrees from Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota.
While in college at NSU, she had the opportunity to perform with the band “Kansas.” She was selected by audition to
be one of 18 students to participate in conducting workshops sponsored by the University of Minnesota for two consecutive years. Before making her way back to St. Mary’s, Anne served as the assistant director of bands at the Brandon Valley Public Schools in Brandon, South Dakota.
Last fall, Anne and her husband, Ben, accepted the positions to direct the high school and junior high bands within the Light of Christ Catholic Schools. Ben conducts the junior high band and Anne is living her dream. She says she has always dreamed of being a teacher, so to pursue her dream at her alma mater with her husband has been a huge blessing to her and to the students.
“I’ve always looked up to my band directors, in particular Bill Schmidt, who taught at SMCHS for over 30 years and it is my goal to continue on the legacy of excellence within the music program,” says Anne.
This is a goal she has already begun to accomplish in the short amount of time she has been at St. Mary’s. Anne has already added new pep band tunes, taken the pep band to Fargo to play for the Class AA state football championship, and has the bands sounding great. And that’s just in the first half of the school year. She is happy to be back at SMCHS and is excited about the future of the band. It’s a future her students are excited about as well. Anne says it has been a joy to be able to teach and pursue her career in a Catholic education system. She says she is exactly where she is supposed to be.
“God had a plan for me and when you follow the pieces, it all works out.”
Audrey Wentz is a junior at St. Mary’s Central High School. She writes for her school’s newspaper and is an active participant in student council, speech, band, and various other activities. She loves spending time with friends and family, and loves to travel.