Next fall, St. Ambrose will have a new director of choral activities for the first time in 15 years as a faculty member prepares for his journey into his last months at the school.
Keith Haan, the current director of choral activites, has been at St. Ambrose since August of 1999. In his time at St. Ambrose, Haan has directed multiple choirs and helped out with musicals put on by the department.
“We’ve done some really good shows and some of the choral things have been quite good,” Haan said. “Also, Bee Sharp has been a major contribution which started out with 5 guys from Chamber Singers. It was a nice way to add variety to what we do.”
Prior to coming to St. Ambrose, Haan received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music education from the University of Northern Iowa. He then taught at North Scott before traveling to West Virginia to teach for five years. In the end, the distance was too much and Haan wanted to get back to Iowa.
“I wanted to work my way closer to Cedar Falls where my parents were and kind of in failing health and wanted to be less than 15 hours away,” Haan said. “I had lived in Davenport and taught at North Scott for 12 years and I liked the Quad Cities. It turned out really well.”
Haan has been very active within the St. Ambrose music department, directing University Chorale, Chamber Singers, and a men’s a cappella ensemble called Bee Sharp. He is also a frequent sight at community events, involved with multiple organizations such as the Quad City Music Guild and acting as the choir director and organist at Zion Lutheran Church in Davenport.
Nearing his final few weeks, Haan laughs when people ask him what his plans are after retirement.
“I don’t know if they think I’m going to sit around and watch soap operas and eat bon bons,” Haan joked. “I’m going to be around here and keep doing applied high school lessons and try not to over extend myself. I don’t want another full time job. This next summer I want to do some traveling and just take off and see where it takes me.”
Haan is currently helping with the spring St. Ambrose production of the musical “Chicago” that will run from April 19 to 21 in Allaert Auditorium. The final choral concert for Haan will take place on May 5 at 3 p.m.