30 Years Of Choir Students Reunited For A Retirement Concert For The Teacher Who 'Changed Our Lives' — 'This Is The Effect A Good Teacher Can Have'

Mr. Stanley had such an impact it only took one rehearsal for his choir to fall right back into rhythm.

Choir teacher Mr. Stanley TikTok

If we were lucky back in our school days, we got to have that one teacher who changed our lives, and if we're even luckier, we get an opportunity to actually show them the impact they had. A woman on TikTok got just such an opportunity, and it's bringing tears to the eyes of people all over the internet.

A group of high school alumni came together to honor the choir teacher who 'changed our lives.'

TikToker @watchmaggiepaint posted a video to the app showing her and her fellow choir alumni rehearsing a song with their beloved choir teacher Mr. Stanley. The moving video had viewers feeling deeply emotional for the obvious love and camaraderie the singers have for their teacher, and it reminded many of the 1995 film "Mr. Holland's Opus" in which Richard Dreyfuss played a high school band teacher who changed his students' lives forever.




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30 years' worth of students reunited for a concert celebrating the choir teacher's retirement.

"This is my high school choral teacher," Maggie wrote in the onscreen text. "He asked 30 years of his alumni to come sing with him one last time before he retired."


And by the looks of it, 30 years' worth of students is exactly who showed up. As Maggie pans the rehearsal of a song named "City Called Heaven," one of the first things you notice—aside from the incredibly moving solo a woman named Lisa Lowe Douglas is belting out—is the wide diversity in age of the participants.

From young people seemingly in their early 20s to people in middle age and even a couple of people with graying hair, it's a compelling endorsement of how wide and deep Mr. Stanley's impact really was.

For the TikToker, it wasn't even a question of whether she'd attend when she got Mr. Stanley's invitation. "I blocked it in my calendar and didn't work a wedding, specifically so I could go to my small hometown and sing for one last time with all the people I grew up knowing."

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The choir teacher's impact was so deep that the alumni immediately fell back in sync with him.

Because of the logistics involved, the choir and Mr. Stanley only got a single rehearsal together. But it ended up being more than enough. "We only had this one day of rehearsal," Maggie wrote, "but we all remembered his style." Even after 30 years, the group immediately fell into total synchronicity. 

The connection between Mr. Stanley and his students is palpable in the video. "There's so much emotion and soul dripping out of this chorus," a commenter noted. Maggie responded that "we were all mostly sightreading," a term for attempting to read music blind, without previous direction, a task even seasoned professionals can struggle with at times. "We all just remembered his teaching." 

"So many memories flooded back," Maggie went on to say. But his impact seems to have gone far beyond mere happy memories. "Many of us became artists and musicians professionally," she wrote, which was evident in her follow-up video of the actual concert, in which the choir sounds nothing short of flawless despite their single rehearsal.



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Many found the video to be a perfect example of the impact teachers can have, and why we should be doing more to value them.

People, especially those who were music students back in the day, were incredibly moved by the video. "Choir student me is crying — CITY CALLED HEAVEN!" one woman commented. "This is so beautiful," another wrote, "and the room being packed full of alumni shows how much of an amazing instructor he was/is. Congrats to him." Mr. Stanley's impact was obvious to everyone who watched the video. "Look at all of the people who showed up to sing just ONE last time. BRB SOBBING," another user wrote.

Of course, Ms. Lowe Douglas's solo drew no shortage of effusive comments too. "Her voice makes me instantaneously emotional," one person commented, while another noticed "the way the girls are smiling in appreciation of the absolute POWERHOUSE leading them."

But people saw a deeper meaning in the video, too. "This is the effect a good teacher can have on a community!" one user wrote, while another added, "reason #28383929 we need to take care of our teachers." Others pointed out the importance of music and the arts in schools. "This made me just absolutely sob. Arts education is the foundation of a LIFE and a GOOD SOCIETY," a TikToker wrote.


Education is a hot-button topic in our combative climate, with teachers frequently being scapegoated by politicians and ideologues bent on blaming them for societal ills. It's no wonder teachers are resigning at unprecedented levels.

But the real impact of teachers is people like Mr. Stanley, who've poured so much heart and soul into their profession that students from 30 years ago jump at the opportunity for a reunion (perhaps our politicians are just jealous?). Here's hoping every kid gets at least one Mr. Stanley along their educational path. It truly can make all the difference.

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social media and human interest topics.