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A passion for music

White gives teaching lessons and directs an adult choir

By KEVIN LYNCH Staff Writer Published: May 27, 2017 5:00 AM
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MILLERSBURG -- Sharing the same vision that executive director Holley Johnson has for dancing and the arts, brought music lover Jaime White together with Johnson to help develop the Holmes Center for the Arts. Combining their talents and passion for the arts, they have seen the Center outgrow its initial building and lead to the pursuit of a performing arts center in the community.

White grew up in southern Ohio near Portsmouth and studied music at Kentucky Christian University, earning a degree in music education. She began teaching music in Lancaster at Fairfield Christian Academy for six years.

She and her husband, Christopher, a West Holmes graduate, moved to Millersburg, so he could attend law school at Akron University and eventually work with his father, retired Holmes County Common Pleas Court Judge Thomas White.

"I started teaching private lessons here and at Hiland High School for about seven years," White said. "I had known someone who was connected with Holley, and after she and I talked, we realized we had a similar vision and heart for what we wanted to bring to the county," White said. "We started working on this together from there."

That was back in December 2014.

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"It made a lot of sense to make this project something that incorporated all the areas of the arts," she said. "I shared with her that my passion was choral music, and I loved directing and teaching choral music. The high schools here have these great programs, John Harris out East and Kristen O'Brien at West Holmes. They have done such an incredible job with these music programs, but then after that, there's not a whole lot in the area of singing.

"I was especially passionate about the adult choir," White continued. "You go and you sing and love it in school, but there's not a whole lot after that. Bigger churches have choirs, but the smaller churches don't offer that."

Georgia Jaeb is an elementary music teacher in the West Holmes School District and is a friend of White's. Jaeb's daughters took private voice lessons from White when they were growing up.

"I've known Jaime for a long time and watched her raise her daughters here and get involved with the Holmes Center for the Arts, which is great," Jaeb said. "She is spending many, many hours of her own time on an endeavor that will benefit the whole community."

Jaeb pointed out that when she was raising her kids, they made many trips to Wooster to go to the Wayne Center for the Arts.

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"For the parents out there with young children now, they are so lucky that we finally have an organization here in Holmes County, the Holmes Center for the Arts, so hopefully they will want to take advantage of that," Jaeb said. "I promote that with the students in the three schools I'm teaching in. Hopefully the program will continue to grow, because it is a blessing. And Jaime is a double blessing."

Jaeb sings in the adult choir that White directs for the Center for the Arts.

"We love Jaime," she said speaking for all the members of choir. "One thing we all appreciate is her enthusiasm and her passion for getting a program like the Holmes Center for the Arts going in Holmes County. It is totally based on her love for music.

"She's awesome," Jaeb continued. "She works with her husband for the Law White Office, and is raising two young girls. She's really busy and she brings a depth of knowledge to the choir. We all appreciate her and love working with her. She's a great leader, and, at the same time, she's actually having fun with it. You can see that in her directing. She's inspirational to us."

White said while working with the Share a Christmas concert program she saw some of the talent in Holmes County and she also saw how generous the people are in their gifting.

Jaime and Christopher have two daughters and live in Millersburg. They both work for White Law Office. Jaime works in human resources.

As a board member and director of music for the Holmes Center for the Arts, White is only paid for the classes she teaches and the productions she directs at this time. Most of her work there is volunteer.

"I really want to see this succeed," she said. "I really want to build a place that people in the community can look at and say that's the building that houses our art. This can be a place to go when you really want to do something great."

Reporter Kevin Lynch can be reached at 330-674-5676 or klynch@the-daily-record.com.


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