By Carol Sheppard
SFJ’s new Assistant Director needs no introduction, as she has been a member of our chorus since 2013. But 2018 marks the year when Kimberly Heilbrun became our Assistant Director, taking on a host of new tasks as South Florida Jubilee continues to grow and move forward.
Kimberly has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Musical Theatre from Syracuse University. She has sung in school choirs since elementary school, and plays both the oboe and the piano. She decided that a career in theatre was not what she wanted, but she still wanted to sing: “something like the show choir (I) was a part of in college.” A friend told her about Sweet Adelines, and she found her first chorus, Goldcoast, in Miami, where she spent five years before joining SFJ.
Kimberly has been active in chorus serving on and chairing committees, but this year, when the opportunity arose to become the Assistant Director, Kim decided to jump in, full force, and get her credentials. With the support of our fabulous Director James Kastler, Kim completed the DCP (Directory’s Certification Program).
The DCP is not for the faint of heart. It consists of nine written tests in different subjects like Vocal Production, Music Theory, Rehearsal Planning, and Judging Category Descriptions. She has passed all of the tests, and then was evaluated by James directing a ballad and an up-tune. Kim says, “It is an on-going learning process, and I hope to grow and learn. I am planning to attend the International Director’s Seminar next August in San Antonio.”
When asked what she enjoys about directing, Kim says, “It’s fun to take control of a song and have everyone follow you. It’s an adrenaline rush.” I wondered if there were any fears, and she quickly replied that her biggest fear “is leading chorus rehearsals. It’s hard for me to be the center of attention, unless I’m singing. I’m confident in my singing abilities, but this is an area where I have to grow and improve and learn as I go. And make mistakes, which I hate. But the chorus has been unbelievably supportive and I’m very grateful for that.”
Kim doesn’t limit her singing to SFJ. She has been in five registered quartets, beginning in 2012. Presently, she sings with Notable, which plans on competing this year.
Kim also is a part of Harmony Brigade, which she describes as another opportunity to sing in quartets. “It’s just one awesome weekend of nonstop quartet singing.”
When she is not singing, Kim works as a massage Therapist at Massage Envy. She loves to read, saying, “Books are definitely my second love after singing.” She tries to spend a lot of time with her best friends, and loves that her mom is now in Florida, and she can spend time with her, as well.
I asked Kimberly what Sweet Adelines brings to her life and she answered, “Everything! I think it’s so important to have something in life that you’re passionate about. I love singing Barbershop and I love that it’s a constant learning experience. It’s such a technical art form, that there’s always something new to learn or improve upon. It’s also such a big part of my social life. I’ve made friends who I probably wouldn’t have met elsewhere.”
And now, we are the learners, as Kim is teaching the rest of us at SFJ, directing us through warm-ups, rehearsals, and performances.