By Matt Pascarella
For as long as Dr. Richard Nickerson can remember, music has been a part of his life. He always knew he would be involved in music in some way. When he was in high school, he met the choral director of the University of Maine. When Dr. Nickerson heard the choir as they sang there first notes, “it gave me chills like I’ve never felt before.” Right then and there he decided he wanted a career in music.
|Dr. Richard Nickerson|
Dr. Nickerson was always surrounded by music. Both his parents were singers and his mother played piano and sang in choirs all her life. Dr. Nickerson remembers playing his parent’s records and trying to figure out harmony parts on the piano. “I was very fortunate in that I had some amazing music teachers throughout my life who supported, encouraged and inspired me. It is my hope that I can have the same impact on my students that these teachers had on me.”
Throughout his career Dr. Nickerson has received many accolades. One that stands out is when he was selected as a top ten finalist for a Music Educator Grammy. He says the best part about being nominated was all the former students who reached out to him. He says it was an honor to be recognized, but his motivation comes from seeing his students work hard.
Dr. Nickerson never doubted that Windham was where he was meant to be. Over the years, he has made a difference in the lives of so many students; the students and surrounding community have made a difference in his life. “I’m very fortunate to work in a community where my work is supported and valued.”
He says his favorite part of being involved in music are the connections and relationships. Dr. Nickerson says it’s an amazing thing to discover different periods of time and different cultures all through music.
Another high honor Dr. Nickerson received was performing at Carnegie Hall on Easter Sunday in 1998. He started the day by appearing on the Today Show. He then remembers walking onto the stage at Carnegie Hall and being completely intimidated by its size. The resonance of the hall created an echo effect, which gave him goosebumps. As for the actual performance, he describes it as a blur that went by in a matter of seconds. When he returned in 2016, it was just as exciting as the first time.
In 1996, the Dr. Richard Nickerson Scholarship was established as a gift from the parents of the Windham Chamber Singers. The purpose is to provide financial support for students who want to make choral music a part of their post-secondary experience. The recipient does not have to major in music but does have to sing in the choir after high school.
Dr. Nickerson and his wife Linda live in Windham and have four grown children. They enjoy travelling, going to concerts and making every day an adventure in living. He is a baseball fan and grew up watching the Toronto Blue Jays. Dr. Nickerson is also Minister of Music at the North Windham Union Church.