Joleen Nelson Woods: The History and Legacy of MVHS Choral Music


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This video was created by the Mount Vernon High School Video Documentary J-Term Class in January of 2019 by Madi Cranston, Rachel Axtell, Lauren Burkle, Anna Nydegger, Mazie Rubner, and Lizzie Niehaus.

Story by Lizzy Niehaus

In the 30 years Joleen Nelson Woods was at Mount Vernon High School, she built a strong choral music program.

Woods was a very determined and passionate choral director. Former choir student Caitlin Bienemann said Joleen “got amazing songs out of sometimes not amazing singers.”

Woods had many achievements to be proud of in her 30 years at Mount Vernon. Some of these include having 234 students selected to All-State Chorus; 198 students selected to Opus Honor Choir; National, Regional, and State Music Convention appearances by concert choir; and 5 four-year All-Staters. She was also presented with the 2016 Robert McCowen Award by the Iowa Choral Directors Association for Lifetime Achievement in Choral Music.

Now, Woods continues to direct a choir at the Mount Vernon United Methodist Church and has a large, helpful impact on her church.

Joleen Nelson Woods