After nearly 20 years of training, Christy Britton and Melissa Sayles have stepped up to the plate as the new National FFA Chorus co-directors.
“It’s neat to get involved with an organization that helps people understand where their food comes from and also exhibits so much leadership,” says Sayles.
Sayles got involved with the National FFA Chorus in 1999, while Britton began in 2002. Over the years, they have been assisting the previous director Patti Lajoye, who retired last year.
For Britton, music runs through her blood. Her father, Joe Lajoye, was the National FFA Band director for 25 years, while her stepmother, Patti, directed the chorus for 20 years. Britton and Sayles shared that although Patti is a physically small woman, she left big shoes to fill.
“It was definitely a little intimidating to take over Patti’s position,” says Britton. “But her leadership and guidance have left us very prepared to take the chorus in a new direction.”
There’s no doubt that the new directors have plenty of experience when it comes to working with a chorus. In the past, they have both worked with the California State FFA Chorus. Sayles is also the current Michigan State FFA chorus director.
Their extensive experience will help them as they go through their first National FFA Convention as co-directors. Because the National FFA Chorus doesn’t meet in person until the Saturday before convention, the duo must work quickly and efficiently to accomplish everything in just a few short days.
Though the task isn’t easy, the directors have found that the students they work with are a great help.
“We really have the cream of the crop here,” says Sayles. “They’re willing to jump in and help with equipment and everything else we may need.”
Catch the National FFA Chorus and National FFA Band in action on FFA.org throughout convention.
Cheyenne Dunn is a senior at Purdue University studying agricultural communication. As a former member of the Greensburg FFA Chapter, she is working as a newsroom reporter for the 91st National FFA Convention & Expo.