Zach Carlson Returns to BHS to Lead Choir Program

An emotional return for 2024-25 follows an even more emotional farewell in 2023

“I got an offer to teach at Wayzata High School, and I took it.”

Choir teacher Zach Carlson’s message to his Concert Choir class in the spring of 2023 was met with silent shock.

Tears gripped the bottom eyelids of many students and began to fall down their faces. They have just learned that their favorite teacher, the reason they come to school, and to some, a father-like figure, will not be returning to school next year.

Adam Keranen ‘25 reflects on his emotions when receiving the news.
“Shocked, depressed, hopeless,” Keranen said. “I had missed the last concert to take a trip. I thought I had more time with him, so when I found out that he wouldn’t be coming back, I was unable to see any positive future in the music department.”

“I was very sad, I cried a lot,” Peyton Anderson ‘24 said. “It was very unfortunate that a teacher I had grown so close to was now moving on to another school. Although I was happy for him and his intent for moving, I was still sad that he wouldn’t be our choir teacher anymore. I was also scared about what next year would look like. I knew it wouldn’t be the same, but how different could it be?”
One year later, in the spring of 2024, Choir teacher Isaac Frauendienst, known by his students simply as “FD” motioned for the choir to stop singing as they wrapped up the last 5 minutes of the class.

“I have an announcement that I want to make sure I have time to get to today,” he began.

The students quieted down and gave FD their undivided attention as the mood turned serious.

“It is official that I will not be returning next year. That being said, Carlson reapplied for this job and will be coming back.”

Gasps were heard around the room, shocked faces looked around seeking approval in their reactions, silence zipped the lips of some, others couldn’t contain their excitement, which seemed to hit FD hard.

“I initially felt a bit of jealousy because I went through an emotional roller coaster last year when he left. I was so sad, and when I heard he was coming back the year after I graduated, it made me feel like I just missed out on having him again because he was such a great teacher,” Kiley Herbst ‘24 said. “I also felt bad for FD because it was his first year teaching and he is definitely still growing into how he teaches, and he was so optimistic for the future. Whether it’s his personal ambitions or his choir, he really just had a lot of ‘new’ ideas that I know he would have loved to carry out if he had more time here.”
The shocking news of Carlson’s return was met with many conflicting emotions as students tried their best to navigate their feelings of loss for FD and excited anticipation for Carlson.
“I was truly stunned when he told us Carlson was coming back,” Anderson said. “I am happy that the younger choirs get to experience what a great teacher he is, but also I do feel really bad for FD. I know he put a lot of work into this year, and to just have to pack up and move out must be hard.”

Though FD’s time at BHS was short-lived and had many ebbs and flows, the time, effort, and work he put in to improving the music program and making connections with his students has not gone unnoticed. Between directing three choirs each day, putting in extra time after school with all 3 of the extracurricular choirs, coordinating, teaching, and conducting all the music in the fall musical, and organizing fun trips for the choir to go on, it is safe to say that FD has taken on a lot of responsibility this year and has done an exceptional job juggling each task.

Hope Schmitz ‘24, reflects on the past year and the lasting impact that FD will leave long after his departure from BHS.
“FD has really stepped up this year and has filled big shoes,” Schmitz said. “He has done a great job at adapting and helping every single student grow.”

“FD is really good at being optimistic for the future and has a lot of new ideas for his choirs and songs he would like them to sing,” Herbst said. “Similarly to Carlson, if you got to know him a little better you would learn that he takes time out of his day to talk to students about their experiences and life stuff.”
Choir students have felt a wave of feelings over the past year in transition with choir directors. Overall, feelings are optimistic as the choir looks forward to Carlson’s return to BHS.

“I’m super happy that Carlson is coming back,” Schmitz said. “I truly believe that he belongs here at BHS and he knew that he was always welcome back. BHS is a special place and he has created a home here for all of his students.”

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