Making the music personal: Longtime choir teacher Shanti Gruber continues on at GSHS but leaving GSMS after nine years |

Making the music personal: Longtime choir teacher Shanti Gruber continues on at GSHS but leaving GSMS after nine years

Glenwood Springs High School choir teacher and former Glenwood Springs Middle School choir teacher, Shanti Gruber.
Taylor Cramer/Post Independent

Teaching music for 15 years throughout multiple area schools, private performances and more during her tenure, Shanti Gruber has become recognized as a face of music throughout the Roaring Fork Valley.

A graduate of Glenwood Springs High School, Gruber returned to the valley in 2008 after receiving a music degree from the University of Northern Colorado.

Following in the footsteps of her late mentor, Jeannie Miller, Gruber took the reins of the Glenwood Springs High School choir program, and shortly thereafter accepted a position to lead the choir program at Glenwood Springs Middle School. Teaching at the middle school since 2014, Gruber will not be retained after the 2022-23 school year.

Gruber will continue to teach choir at Glenwood Springs High School, but her time at Glenwood Middle School as a dedicated choir teacher has abruptly come to an end due to budget cuts, she said.

“When Jeannie passed away, they were desperately looking for someone to take over the choir program,” Gruber said. “I was only supposed to be in town for the summer but everything worked out and I was offered to lead the choir program.”

After stepping into the role at GSHS in 2008, Gruber was later offered to become head of the choir program at the middle school in 2014.

“It really was a blessing in disguise,” Gruber said. “I am so thankful for the opportunity that I have been given. I have been able to watch a number of kids grow for their years in middle and high school and see them go on to do great things with their lives.”

Impacting a number of students throughout her time in the Glenwood Springs area, many have praised Gruber for the work she has done to get them to where they are today.

“She definitely had a big impact on my music journey, but she also had an impact on my personal growth as well,” University of Northern Colorado freshman and GSHS graduate Ella Lindenberg said.

For former and current students alike, Gruber’s impact as a teacher has left a lasting impression on many.

“I think something about Ms. Gruber that stands out to me the most is the impact that she has on each student that walks into the door,” said current GSHS freshman Sky McConaughy. “The moment you step into her classroom she gets to know you personally. It’s not just about your voice with her. She wants to see you succeed as a person.”

As a teacher, Gruber has done everything she can throughout her 15 years teaching to bring the best out of her students.

“Getting to watch students come in and having the chance to grow with them is something that I will never take for granted,” Gruber said. “I’ve seen the shyest, most cut-off person grow into their confidence and blossom into a completely different person.”

Glenwood Springs Middle School will not cut the choir program, she clarified, but instead plans to hand the position off to current instrumental music teacher Chane Smith.

“Those middle school years are really important for development and growth and it’s only an added benefit to have the same person guiding you then and in high school,” Glenwood Springs Elementary School music teacher Emma Leake-Parker said. “Choir and band are two completely different sides of music and I think that’s something that those making these decisions don’t necessarily understand.”

A 2022 Grammy Music Educators Award semifinalist, Gruber’s contract will be rewritten following the end of the school year, sending her from a full-time position to a half-time position within the district.

“It’s definitely tough and obviously I am gonna have to find other ways to fill my time,” Gruber said. “Last year, some colleagues and I opened up an arts school at the Bridges Building so I will be holding private lessons and more there. It’s something that I am really excited to spend more time on.”

Gruber’s last time with the Glenwood Springs Middle School choir will be May 24 where they will perform for an end-of-year celebration. 

Post Independent reporter Taylor Cramer can be reached at 970-384-9108 or

More Like This, Tap A Topic

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.