Dr. Richard Ingram retired in 2016 after 42 years with Ann Arbor Public Schools, and although his career as Huron High School’s Music Department Chair and Choir Director has come to an end, his legacy has not.
The former Little Theater at Huron High School became Ingram’s namesake at a dedication ceremony in his honor in December 2017. It is now and forever the Dr. Richard E. Ingram Theatre of the Performing Arts.
Ingram considers his journey serving the AAPS district a privilege.
“When I first started teaching, I never thought about how long I was going to do it,” he said. “But I felt lucky every day to be doing what I love. And it just happened to last for 42 years. This is absolutely overwhelming. It’s certainly a humbling experience to be able to have something that is so dear to my heart with my name on it.”
The AAPS Board of education recognized Dr. Ingram for his accomplishments earlier in the year, with Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jeanice Swift leading several speakers who heaped Ingram with recognition for some of his extensive career highlights after the board’s unanimous vote in favor of the rename.
“Choirs under Dr. Ingram’s direction have appeared throughout the U.S., in Canada, in Europe, including New York’s Carnegie Hall,” Swift said. “In 2006 the Huron Acapella Choir placed first in their category at the International Choral Competition in Verona Italy and the Huron Acapella Choir was awarded a second prize in the high school division of the 2011 American Prize Competition.”
“Since 1994, Huron choirs under his direction have appeared 10 times at state choral music conferences as well as seven international tours, Swift continued. “He took every step needed to ensure that every child traveled to Europe.”
Swift said that under Ingram’s leadership, the Huron High School music department has also received five grammy awards in excellence in music education.
“I think it’s clear to say,” Swift said, “that many music educators and every school district out there would be envious of even one of his designations.”
Huron H.S. Principal Janet Schwamb has described Ingram’s leadership style as calm, caring, compassionate, deliberate and subtle, and she called the AAPS district lucky to be able to have employed “Doc,” as he is affectionately known, for so long.
“Dr. Ingram is a quiet, unpretentious, optimistic, and above all enthusiastic music educator,” Schwamb said. “His passion has been about making beautiful music with the students each and every day; whether it has been conducting one of our choirs, teaching guitar, taking time at band camp each August, conducting on the stage, or his day-today interaction with students and staff at Huron.”
“Richard Ingram is admired, respected, and above all, beloved.”
Dr. Richard Ingram, who is a 1970 Pioneer High School graduate, left the University of Michigan with three degrees– a bachelor of vocal music education, a master’s degree in choral conducting, and a doctorate in vocal music performance.
Over the length of his career, he has instructed choir, voice, music theory, guitar, humanities music history and music appreciation. Ingram has chaired the Huron Music Department chairman for 27 years, and roster of his involvements in state and national music education and choral music organizations is extensive and impressive.
He has served on Boards of Directors of both the Michigan School Vocal Music Association and the American Choral Directors Association-Michigan, and is a past president of both the Michigan School Vocal Music Association and the American Choral Directors Association-Michigan. Ingram’s colleagues elected him State Honors Choir Director in 1995 and 2009.
Ingram has been bestowed with many honors, including the Presidential Scholar Distinguished Teacher in 1997 and Michigan School Vocal Music Association Teacher of the Year in 2007.
Photo courtesy of Jo Mathis, AAPS