Fullerton College hired 54 new faculty members fall of 2015 making it one of the highest hiring years for new faculty members in 30 years.
Amongst those 44 is Nicola Bertoni who took up the position director of the Men’s and Women’s Chorale. Bertoni also teaches music theory and is a vocal coach for students in the applied voice program.
Bertoni is only in her second semester teaching at Fullerton College. She described that coming into this position was very intimidating, but she could not be happier being in the spot she is in now.
“I couldn’t be happier with the music department here,” Bertoni said. “Obviously it’s a bit nerve racking coming into your first job and having it be something of such a high caliber. Not only at the community college level but at one of the finest community colleges in the country and certainly the strongest in the state of California for music” Bertoni said.
It is the students and the sense of community that Bertoni has enjoyed the most. She describes the students as incredible, eager, hungry, smart and kind. She admires how much they appreciate a sense of community.
She credited that kind of achievement to John Tebay, the Interim Dean of the Fine Arts Department, who she says built the choral program into something remarkable.
“That is not something that is easy to do especially with such a cut-throat career path as music,” Bertoni said. “But here we manage to inspire our students to move forward and better themselves and be cut-throat while not putting down their peers.”
Bertoni hopes to stay at Fullerton College for a long time. She mentioned that she is in a unique position being the youngest member of the faculty and this being her first full-time teaching job.
“I really hope to stay here as long as I possibly can,” Bertoni said. “It really looks like Fullerton (College) is my future and I hope to give back to this community in a special and long term way. This is a special kind of place and not a lot of people are lucky enough to say that about their first job.”
While touring in Southern California in January 2015 with the Westminster Choir, Bertoni says that her eyes were opened to the world of community colleges.
“When I saw community colleges that were putting forward these incredible programs that were accessible to students who may not be able to afford 4 years at a fancy conservatory or a 4-year fancy university. This gives them a very accessible way to study music at a very high level and transfer easily into a wonderful UC or Cal State system that continues to foster that growth. I have never seen anything like that before that tour.”
It was after that tour when Bertoni decided to look into jobs in Southern California. When she saw the job opening for Fullerton College. Bertoni describes looking up Fullerton College
“I was floored,” Bertoni said. “These ensembles sound like some of the top chamber groups at 4-year colleges across the country. If I was even lucky enough to be considered for this job this would be like ‘the end all be all’ of jobs. I was not expecting anything to happen because to me this (Fullerton College) was my top choice. So you can imagine I was pretty thrilled to find out that I will get to be a part of this.”
As of now, there is no end in sight for how long Bertoni will be at Fullerton College. Students can expect great things coming from the Men’s and Women’s Chorale.