They are more than teachers. More than musicians. With the melodic poetry of their lives, Zach and Keiko Halop teach more than just notes and rhythm. They teach music.
As the choral director at Northwood High School, Zach Halop, has spent the last 18 years of his life sharing his musical talent with hundreds of students, as his wife Keiko Halop, has made her mark at the school as a tremendously talented piano accompanist and dedicated vocal coach.
But that is far from where their stories begin.
As a kid born in Agana Heights, Guam, Zach Halop quickly discovered that he was
different from the kids he was surrounded by.
“I was kind of an introvert,” Zach Halop said. “I was doing things that I liked that others didn’t. When I moved to Hawaii, it was even more severe. I would rather play piano than play other sports. And that was how I retreated further into myself.”
On the other side of the world in Tokyo, Japan, Keiko Halop was living a similar
life—plagued by a childhood stutter among other disadvantages.
“Sophomore year, my father told me I couldn’t play piano.” Keiko Halop said. “He told me I needed to focus on more important things like studying. I was crushed. That was when I hit depression and everything kind of went downhill.”
With contrasting personalities, Zach and Keiko Halop have developed an ever-changing relationship built on trust and mutual respect.
“It’s been a journey,” Zach Halop said. “We changed from two dumb college kids to parents of an autistic kid to parents of now grown people to still trying to find our own groove as a couple.”
Although the journey has led to more than a few disagreements, they are both continuously reminded of their mutual love and devotion to music.
“We disagree a lot,” Zach Halop. “Sometimes it can get really intense but at the core of it all is the fact that we want to make great music.”
Their shared commitment to great music has given each of them interesting perspectives regarding the impact that music has on the world today.
“Really good artistic music was meant to be an expression of soul and a marker of civilization and a way of moving society forward and intriguing the mind to do better,” Zach Halop said. “Music wasn’t made to be played in the background to a Tide detergent commercial.”
“I saw one experiment where they see how plants react to different kinds of music, and they found that the plant that listened to classical music grew better than the one that listened to heavy metal,” Keiko Halop said. “That just proves that there is a soul in plants! Right. I totally believe that. And if plants can be affected by good music, then what about us?”