OTTAWA — Ted Ellerbrock has shared his passion for choral music with thousands of students over the past 30 years as Ottawa-Glandorf High School’s choral director. This weekend the curtain will close on his 25th dinner theater production of him serving as director, as he has plans to retire June 1.
When Ellerbrock, 54, was asked why he was retiring he simply said, “I’m tired and don’t have the energy I used to have.”
He said he will miss the students the most and is thankful for the support the community has given the choral program that currently has 256 students. The program started with four students in 1989. He has enjoyed seeing the program grow over the years.
Ellerbrock has tried to create an atmosphere where every student feels like they belong and said music unifies and brings the best out of people.
“The students inspire me to be better and I try to inspire them and to give it their best,” Ellerbrock said. He said it has been rewarding to see his students develop a love for music and recognize its importance in their lives.
He has always encouraged his students to have energy, be prepared and love the thrill of singing.
Ellerbrock is a 1982 O-G High School graduate and graduated in 1987 from Bluffton College with a music education degree. He taught music two years at Kalida Elementary School and became the choir director at O-G High School in 1988-1989 school year when he brought back the school’s choir program.
In 1995, he started the school’s dinner theater and the first production was “An Evening With Disney.” Other performances have included “Broadway” “Dinner and a Movie” “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Love Boat.”
“The school was ready to bring the choir program back and kids needed a chance to sing,” Ellerbrock said. He said choral music allows students to express themselves in a unique way.
His love for music started in second grade when he took piano lesson from his his cousin, Patricia Kreinbrink. His father and his two brothers had a barbershop quartet called Three Lads And A Dad that he sang in. Growing up he sang in St. Peter and Paul’s Church choir and now plays the organ and piano at church in Glandorf.
He grew up listening to Kenny Rogers and Karen Carpenter sing and said their music was fun to sing along to.
What he hopes his students remember him most for is instilling life skills and confidence in them.
He keeps in touch with his students he has had over the years and one of his former students is acting in New York trying to get on Broadway. Ellerbrock has served as choir director over his son, Drew; nephews, Nick and Mike; nieces, Kayla and Brooke; and currently his nephew, Zack Ricker, who is a senior, will perform in this weekend’s production.
According to school officials, Sara Ballou who is from Cleveland, will take on the position as the high school’s new choir director.
Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.