Jason Parker: Life in the Arts

Jason Parker is a music and drama educator at Squalicum High School. Over the course of his life, Parker lived in Montana and attended Concordia University. He followed his passions which eventually landed him in the perfect occupation.

Jason Parker performing in a variety show at Apollo High School where he previously worked. Photo courtesy: Jason Parker.

Currently he teaches all five choir classes at Squalicum High School, including Mixed Choir, Concert Choir, Choraliers, Girl’s Chamber Choir and Storm Singers, as well as both Introduction to Drama and Advanced/Intermediate Drama. Kezia Thompson, a sophomore in one of Parker’s many choir classes, explains, “Even with his busy schedule, Mr. Parker makes time to help each individual student and will advocate for what they need. He empowers us to grow in our voices and acting, lead each other and create a community of respect and enjoyment of the arts.”

As a young child, Jason Parker was mentored by a music teacher, whom he adored. This influenced him to work in the field of music. Another contributing factor was his mother, who also worked in music.

Parker hoped to share his love for music and lead young individuals who shared his artistic passion. Parker gained some experience with drama by participating in a little club offered at his high school. Later in his career, he worked with an admirable woman whom inspired his interest in drama. Ever since, theater has felt like a second home.

The decision between teaching and performing was quite difficult for Parker after his college graduation. For a while, he thought about becoming a musician, specifically in musical theatre or opera, but he chose to become an educator due to the difficulty of the field of performance. Parker is an immensely hard working and determined individual, however, he believed the stress of performing wasn’t worth it. He decided that providing others with the opportunity to perform was even more rewarding than the act itself. We are so glad he did – as his passion for the arts has inspired many young people since. Parker has great experience in the arts and is a reliable source for his students throughout their journey into music and theatre.

A candid from the winter production at Squalicum High School, directed by Jason Parker. Photo courtesy: Jason Parker.

As early as junior high, Parker knew he had a strong desire to work in the arts. Within a few years, he was partaking of all of the music classes offered at his school. There weren’t very many but he made the most of what he had and trained outside of class as well. He has taken private lessons in piano since first grade and trumpet since sixth grade, sticking with them until college. During his adolescent years, Parker discovered he could get paid to do what he loved, so he started performing early in local weddings and funerals, which provided him with more music experience, as well as extra finances.

In college, Parker participated in multiple ensembles including concert band and concert orchestra, which were the top two touring groups. His commitment kept him very well rounded throughout school and he graduated with a major in piano and a minor in voice.

Parker loved musical theatre and opera because they combined his love of music and his love of performing. “There’s a term coined by Ricard Wagner,” Parker relates, “the word was ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’ and it means the complete or total artwork … None of the elements of an opera production were more important than the other. The music he was composing was no more important than the story or the set design or the costumes; everything had to come together to create the story, which is exactly how I feel about it.”

A cast photo from the 2016 production of Beauty and the Beast, directed by Jason Parker. Photo courtesy: Jason Parker.

Jason Parker followed his heart and focused on his passion for the arts. He created a career of what he loved most. “What I love most about my job are the students,” Parker says. “There are amazing kids here; every student has a different approach to life and my job gets to be to help them and help them learn about themselves and others, as well as support their growth and maturity.”

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