Mr. John Madsen – Riverview Jr. High

Mar 13, 2008, 7:18 PM | Updated: Feb 13, 2024, 10:44 am

Animation of an award for the teacher feature special by KSL...

Dear Teacher Feature Judges,

I want to nominate my son a 7th, 8th, 9thgrade choral teacher, Mr. Madsen, for Teacher Feature. Some of the reasons I believe Mr. Madsen should be chosen are:

He is such a great teacher and he loves his students, respects them, disciplines them with understanding, expects the best from them and fosters in the students a desire to do their best. He not only fills them with music but fills them with those life skills that will allow them to become all that they wan to be.

I have watched him direct kids over the years in countless concerts and other presentations. He always has a smile on his face as he begins a song that lets the students know he is “in their corner,” counting on them to do an awesome job. And they do!

The kids think so much of their “Madsen,” as they call him, seeking to perform at their highest potential, to make him proud of them.

Each year the choirs present at Fashion Place Mall (and they have also done so at the ZCMI Center Mall) and prior to the performance, John has gotten permission slips from parents allowing the kids to get lunch at the mall and spend some time “hanging around,” before the bus takes them back to school. Well, I have, of course, gone over to listen and then have lunch with John. He is barraged by students the whole time, who just want to talk to him and be with him. They really love and respect him.

I have never been to a single concert that parents didn’t come up to me and praise John for that entire he does for their sons and daughters. Kids in 6th grade are literally “waiting in line,” to be able to sign up for choir so they can have the famous Mr. Madsen.

John’s classes are full to the brim, year after year, and he always teaches over 300 kids each term. His choirs have sung at the Utah School Board convention, participated in many honor choir performances and recently sang at a Utah Jr. High select choir concert, one of only 3 schools in the state to do that.

John was chosen a couple of years ago to conduct an honor choir himself, of jr. high kids from all over the state. When the director of the event introduced John and told of his credits, the choir he was conducting broke out into a rousing applause. Remember, these were not his regular students; these were kids from different schools statewide, who had only been directed by him for two days. When I went out in the hall after that concert, no one there knew who I was and I could overhear students talking about how great Mr. Madsen was and how much they thought of him. It was fun being a “fly on the wall.”

I know that I am extra proud of him because I am his mother, but I challenge anyone, anywhere to find a better jr. high choir teacher than Mr. Madsen. He has been offered jobs teaching in high schools in other districts but always says no because he comments that he loves the jr. high age and can’t imagine teaching any other age group.

John graduated from BYU and while there, sang in the famous Mens’ Chorus, directed by Mack Wilberg, who is now the conductor of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They sang “Betheletemu,” a Nigerian Christmas folk song, which was heralded in many circles of music. It is a most difficult piece, with accompanying drums and other rhythm instruments, let alone being sung in Nigerian. When John got to Riverview, he decided he would incorporate that song into his choir’s repertoire. His BYU instructors told him it would be too difficult for jr. high. The high school choral teacher at Murray High echoed that same thought, but John was determined to try.

The first Christmas concert he had the choir sang that, they received a standing ovation. Year after year, he did the song again and again and it has become his signature piece. He now invites former students from any year in the past, who want to come on stage and get another chance to sing “Betheletemu,” to join in. The response is staggering! What a thrill to see so many kids come back just to get a chance to sing with Mr. Madsen again. That bespeaks to me that he has made impacts on so many over the years. He has former students who are now graduating from college and becoming music teachers themselves.

Patrons have written in the Murray Eagle newspaper and the Deseret Morning News about that “fantastic” choir teacher at Riverview Jr. High and what he accomplishes with his students.

As an educator, I am especially proud of John and the lives he has surrounded with music. The arts are a vital part of public education and Riverview Jr. High choir students are better, better-rounded people for having rubbed shoulders with Mr. John Madsen. I highly recommend John Madsen for your teacher feature.


Mrs. Sherry Madsen

Dear Teacher Feature Judges,

I want to nominate Riverview Junior High School choir teacher Mr. John Madsen, for Teacher Feature. Some of the reasons we believe Mr. Madsen should be chosen are:

Mr. Madsen is an amazingly talented musician that attended BYU on a music scholarship. It is so incredible that he is using his talents to inspire our youth. He is a wonderful example to his students professionally and personally. His passion for music shows everyday with his students.

Mr. Madsen is very good at working with large classes. He enjoys teaching and makes learning about music interesting and enjoyable for his students. While teaching the core materials he is also able to create a fun and exciting learning environment. My son says “Mr. Madsen make singing more fun than all of my other classes put together”. Mr. Madsen’s love for the students and music is apparent at all of the many concerts that he hosts through the years for parents, grandparents, families, public and their peers at Riverview Junior High School. He also schedules performances at local malls for the students; this is always very popular with the students. Riverview Junior High School’s Concert Choir has over 70 students in it. Everyone in this choir must audition. To have 10% of the students that attend Riverview Junior High School interested in participating in the Concert Choir is an amazing accomplishment that Mr. Madsen earns. Riverview Concert Choir also performs at Riverview’s Renaissance Fair. The extra hours that Mr. Madsen works each day to prepare his choirs for performances is an indication of his dedication to teaching. Many mornings before performances, to insure successful performances for his students Mr. Madsen has early rehearsals that begin one hour before school is scheduled to start.

Mr. Madsen allows some of his students to participate in Honor Choir, where he personally chaperons the students for a day and gives them the opportunity to sing with a choir of four hundred of the best junior high school students in the state. This experience is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the students, and builds confidence in each participant.

Mr. Madsen is easy to get along with, respectful, encouraging and an outstanding educator and deserves the recognition of the KSL Newsradio and Zions Bank Teacher Feature.

Sincerely, Shela Barker

Dear Teacher Feature Judges,

I want to nominate our choir teacher, Mr. John Madsen, for Teacher Feature. Some of the reasons I believe Mr. Madsen should be chosen are:

John has influenced countless students for good through the years. He is often referred to as “my favorite teacher” by students. And each time the choir performs, parents stop to tell me how much they appreciate what he has done for their particular students.

Mr. Madsen is kind, energetic driven, smart, funny, patient, and respectful according to students. Students continually say that Mr. Madsen has prepared them to take responsibility for their actions; to be respectful; to be honest; to be kind; and to sit up straight. Singing is what he formally teaches, but life skills are what he models and drives home to kids.

Mr. Madsen takes time to make all his students feel important and talented. One student told me, “I like this teacher because he never gave up on me.” Another said, “He has helped prepare me to share my love of teaching and my love of music.” And yet another, “Mr. Madsen helps kids realize how important music can be in their lives and how music can impact their lives. Mr. Madsen makes learning music fun and easy to understand.”

Mr. Madsen’s class sizes are often as large as 85 kids. How wonderful that so many student shave the opportunity to be in his class and to learn from him. We are fortunate at Riverview Jr. High to have such an outstanding teacher on our faculty.


Shauna Ballou

Dear Teacher Feature Judges,

I want to nominate our choir teacher, Mr. John Madsen, for Teacher Feature. Some of the reasons I believe Mr. Madsen should be chosen are:

Mr. Madsen not only produces quality choirs, he creates within students a love for music and a desire to develop all of their talents.

Mr. Madsen approaches his classes with a sense of humor and a cheerful, positive attitude. He allows students to help choose the songs they learn, giving them a sense of responsibility and ownership. Mr. Madsen encourages opportunities for students to sing a variety of parts so they can develop the full range of their voices. He also provides instruction in concert etiquette and courtesy to both choir members and audiences, making performances more enjoyable for all.

Mr. Madsen supports students in developing talents both in and out of the music field by offering opportunities on a weekly basis for students to share their strengths with each other. Through participation in Mr. Madsen’s choir classes, my youngest daughter has rekindled her interest in playing the piano and actively seeks out new pieces to learn and share. She has also been excited about opportunities to share other talents with her class.

Mr. Madsen is a great asset to both students and community members at Riverview Junior High. He is an excellent candidate for the KSL Newsradio & Zion’s Bank Teacher Feature.

Sincerely, Ruthann Gibbs

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Mr. John Madsen – Riverview Jr. High