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Artistc director leaving children's choir for more family time

Aaron Riegle is shown with some of his Southlake Children's Choir members prior to a performance.

After nearly a decade at the helm, Aaron Riegle is stepping down as artistic director of the Southlake Children’s Choir.

Riegle made the announcement at the group’s Spring Concert on April 26. He will be replaced this fall by Michael Cierski, a music teacher in Illinois who has experience conducting choirs of all ages.

“Directing SCC has been one of the highlights of my teaching career. I have sincerely enjoyed working with our singers, parents, and board members over these past eight years,” Riegle said. “It has been an incredibly difficult decision, but I have decided to spend more time at home with my young, growing family.”

The nonprofit community choir has performed with the Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra, South Shore Chamber Orchestra, Valparaiso University's band, orchestra, and choirs, and the Chicago Children’s Choir, among others.

The group was also selected as a featured ensemble at the 2008 Indiana Music Educators State Convention in Indianapolis, and has taken performance tours of St. Louis, Washington D.C., Nashville, and New York City.

Riegle attended Butler University for music education and earned his master’s in music education from Ball State University in 2009.

He spent a semester studying at the Kodály Pedagogical Institute of Music in Kecskemét, Hungary, and was recently published in "Update: Applications of Research in Music Education."

The Valparaiso resident is finishing his 11th year as choral director at Portage High School and conducts five choirs at the school, including the Advanced Women’s Choir and the PHS Choraliers.

“I really enjoy working with such talented students and staff at PHS. I feel so fortunate to be surrounded by the arts and great music-making every day,” he said.

“The PHS Music Department was very fortunate to receive a 25-station Clavinova Keyboard Lab. Since that time, I have been teaching the Piano II (Advanced-level) course in addition to conducting the choirs.”

When not teaching or performing, Riegle enjoys spending time with wife, Anne, and children Caroline, Colin and Caleb.

For more information on the Southlake Children’s Choir and auditions, visit

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