Midway High School
Jeff Rice is in his 22nd year as Director of Choirs for Midway ISD and 36th year of teaching choral music. He is the head choral director at Midway High School where he directs the Select Men, Varsity Men, Meistersingers, and Chamber Singers. Mr. Rice's choirs consistently receive sweepstakes and first division ratings at UIL contests and festivals. MHS Choirs have been invited to perform at the TMEA convention three times under Mr. Rice’s direction. Prior to teaching at MHS, Mr. Rice taught in San Angelo ISD, Cy-Fair ISD, and LaPorte ISD.
In 1981, Mr. Rice graduated from Sherman HS where he was a two-year member of the TMEA All-State Choir. He received a Bachelor of Music Education from Baylor University and Master of Music from Texas State University.
Mr. Rice has served as High School Vice-President and President of the Texas Choral Directors Association, Chair of the UIL Prescribed Music List, and is currently serving as the TMEA Area D Vocal Chair. He is also an active member of the Texas Music Adjudicators Association. Mr. Rice has been selected as MISD Showcase of Stars Distinguished Educator on numerous occasions.
Mr. and Mrs. Rice have three grown children who are all MHS and Baylor graduates.
Midway Middle School
Tammy Benton graduated from Baylor University School of Music in 1997 earning a Bachelor of Music Education degree. She received her Masters in Music Ed from Baylor University in May of 2014.
Benton frequently serves as clinician for both TMEA and TCDA. She frequently leads workshops and in-services all around the state on teaching middle school choirs and specifically recruiting, building and teaching boys’ choirs. She enjoys serving as conductor for All-Region and MS/JH Honor Choirs across the state in addition to adjudicating for UIL. Since 2011, she has been enjoying invitations from around the nation to clinic and conduct state honor choirs and lead workshops. She was guest conductor for the ACDA Louisiana MS/JH Honor Choir. She also serves as a supervising teacher and mentor to Baylor music students.
Benton’s Combined Boys’ Choir received invitations to perform at the 2005 and 2011 TMEA conventions and the 2013 National American Choral Director’s Convention. Her Select Boys’ choir was honored with an invitation to perform for the 2005 White House Christmas in Washington, DC. Her select girls performed for the 2016 MS/JH National Conference for Choral Music at UNT followed by her Combined Boys who were invited to perform for the 2018 MS/JH National Conference for Choral Music held at Baylor University. She has served on the TMAC/TMEA curriculum alignment committee, the Texas UIL/PML Committee and is just completed her term serving on the UIL Sightreading Committee. Benton had the distinct privilege to travel to Uganda, Africa in 2007 to teach the Mwangaza Children’s choir.
She is currently in her 23rd year as head director of the Midway Middle School Choral program. The program has an enrollment of over 360 seventh and eighth grade students in 7 performing choirs. There is a 130 member boys’ choir, a 65 member select choir, a 45 member 8th grade girls choir and 125 7th grade girls that make up 2 different choirs. Benton and her assistant take 5 choirs to UIL each year. All choirs have earned sweepstakes for the 23 years she has been there. Her students participate heavily in All-Region auditions and TCDA Honor Choirs. When she is not teaching, she loves rooting for the Baylor Bears, being on the water or travelling with her husband, Gary, a retired college baseball coach.
Ms. Kayla Torp is excited for her third year working with the Midway Choirs! This is her first year as the Associate Director at Midway Middle School. Her first two years in Midway were spent serving the students at Woodgate Intermediate as the 6th Grade Choir Director and assisting 7th grade girls at Midway Middle Prior to teaching in Midway, she student taught and later instructed private voice at Craig Middle School and Abilene High School in Abilene Independent School District.
Kayla is a proud graduate of both Midway High School and Abilene Christian University where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in Music Education in 2018. She is passionate about choral music and the immense social-emotional benefits that music brings to people of all ages. She is excited for another year working with the fabulous Midway Choirs.
Mrs. Hyeyoung Ku is in her first year as the 6th grade choir director at Woodgate Intermediate. Mrs. Ku is a 2020 graduate of the University of Texas at Austin receiving her Bachelor of Music in Choral Music Education with honors. She started her vocal studies at age 9 as she passed the audition for the Korean Academy Children's Choir (KACC) with the recommendation of her classroom teacher. While she was in KACC, she had wonderful opportunities to travel worldwide to perform, record many Korean TV commercial songs, and even appearing on TV shows. These unforgettable memories grew her love and passion for music, and Mrs. Ku's love of choir life continued as she moved to the United States at age 14.
Mrs. Ku is passionate about teaching music. She believes that as a director, it is essential to provide a classroom to students where they feel comfortable and safe to communicate with one another and express their individual thoughts. She also strongly believes in encouraging her students to become the best they can be in a healthy and productive learning environment.
In addition to teaching, Mrs. Ku loves eating good food and traveling with her husband and family.
River Valley Intermediate
Mr. Adam Gilliland is in his first year as the 6th grade choir director at River Valley Intermediate. He is joining the Midway ISD Fine Arts team with four years of prior experience as an Associate Choral Director at the High School Level. Mr. Gilliland is a 2011 graduate of Midway High School and a 2016 graduate of Baylor University, where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Choral Music Education.
As a director, Mr. Gilliland was privileged to prepare and perform with the Coppell High School Choir program for the 2017 Texas Music Educators Association Convention. As a performer, Mr. Gilliland currently performs with the Brethren Men’s Choir and has previously performed with the Texas Baroque Ensemble, the Richardson Chamber Ensemble, and as a staff singer for Christ Church Plano.
Mr. Gilliland has been a consistent member, participant, and volunteer of the the Texas Choral Directors Association and the Texas Music Educators Association serving as a Region Choir Organizer, Section Leader, Contest Host, and Convention Volunteer.
Mr. Gilliland is excited to join the tradition of excellence in Midway Fine Arts, and he looks forward to developing and furthering that tradition at River Valley. He has been blessed to be married to his wife, Mickey, for four years, and they are looking forward to the arrival of their first daughter this November!