Horlick Choirs - Director

The Director

Ellen Christensen was born and raised in Waukesha, WI as the seventh of thirteen children of Ervin and Ruth Scherwinski. She attended St. Mary's grade school and Catholic Memorial High School in Waukesha. She began her college education at St. Norbert College in DePere, WI. She transferred to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to study voice with Madame Yolanda Marculescu-Stern, a coloratura soprano from Romania. Mrs. Christensen began her teaching career at St. Mary's, Waukesha while still finishing her degree. She taught 3rd through 8th grade general music. After student teaching at Tonawonda Elementary and Waukesha South High School, she completed her Bachelors degree in Music Education in 1988. Mrs. Christensen is certified and licensed to teach pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade general and choral music. Her first teaching job after earning her degree was in Milwaukee at LaFollette Elementary, a large inner city public school with approximately 650 students. She taught children as young as three years old up to 5th grade. During this time she married Joseph Christensen and soon became an at-home mother to raise daughters Emily and Erica. She also began to work out of a home office as a proofreader and graphic designer for Sure-Win Typography, her father's business.

 

In 1996, the Christensen family moved to Racine, WI - Joe's hometown. Mrs. Christensen became involved with the Parent Teacher Association at Jerstad-Agerholm Elementary, successfully fundraising to install two playgrounds. In 1998, she purchased Sure-Win Typography and still works part-time as a graphic designer. In 2000, she attended the World Music Drumming workshop and studied West African drumming and South American rhythms with Sowah Mensah. In the fall of 2000, Mrs. Christensen returned to the classroom at Jerstad-Agerholm Middle School teaching 6th grade general music and the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade choirs. She also returned to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and in 2002 attended the VoiceCare Network Impact Course in Collegeville, Minnesota. She completed her Masters degree in Music Education in August, 2005. Mrs. Christensen has performed in Oliver, Godspell, Funny Girl, Amahl and the Night Visitors, La Boehme, and La Traviata. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, she performed in the opera workshop, concert choir, vocal jazz ensemble, and choirs for the annual Viennese Ball scholarship benefit and the annual Madrigal Feast. She was a member of the Milwaukee Symphony Chorus, did some voice-over work, and sang a jingle for a local radio advertisement.

 

Mrs. Christensen is currently a cantor/conductor for St. Rita Parish in Racine, WI. She is an active member of Music Educators National Conference (MENC), the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), Racine Educators Association (REA), and the National PTSA. She was hired to be the Vocal Music Director for William Horlick High School in August 2005.