New Rockford-Sheyenne teacher Annette Hovey knows there is power in music. It’s a power that reaches the head and the heart.

“The beauty that these kids get to create and experience in their day I just really think that makes a difference in who they are as a person and how they are. I don’t have kids in my room that really have very many emotional problems because I think music makes a difference with them, and that delves deep into your soul,” Hovey said.

Annette Hovey, music teacher at New Rockford-Sheyenne High School, leads her choir through vocal exercises.

Hovey, a 2019 North Dakota Teacher of the Year finalist, exposes her students to literature from all eras of music and helps them learn the history behind each piece they sing or play.

Recently, the choir performed a classic, complicated piece by Rachmaninoff at the North Dakota Music Educators Conference. It’s a song Hovey had sung in college.

“So (I) bought the piece, brought it to the kids and we didn’t start with measure one, I think we started with measure 5, I said let’s just do this measure. Taught the kids the note, put it all together and it brought tears to my eyes, just that one measure of what they were doing from day one and then of course when they see that it affects me, it affects them and that really helped, too,” Hovey said.

Hovey says she decided as a teenager she was going to be a music teacher and never wavered from the decision.

The music program has grown and flourished under Hovey — and continues to be a source of pride for the school and community.

“I think people think I’m a happy person, why am I a happy person? I get to make music every day. I get to hear music every day. I get to bring that out of kids and to me that brings immense joy to my life and it’s like music my statement on the wall — it’s not what I do, it’s who I am,” Hovey said.