A conductor by day and a music fanatic by night

Paul Kimball is a musical genius that juggles school, family, and play direction. What exactly can’t this man do?


Photo courtesy of Clairisa Tomelloso

Meet the bright, witty, and musical genius that is Mr. Kimball

Clairisa Tomelloso, Staff Writer

STOCKTON: The ability to juggle multiple classes in a single day is a skill set that many talented teachers do not possess. In order to accomplish this task, the teacher must have a flexible mindset in order to change gears, and teach multiple subjects in a single day. Well, Lincoln High School’s choir teacher, Paul Kimball has the talent to do it all. This school year marks Mr. Kimball’s 36 th year of teaching 12 year-olds to adults. Mr. Kimball is the musical conductor for the Sierra Middle School choir (grades 7-8), all grade levels at Lincoln High (9-12), and when the bell rings at 3:00 PM he is off to teach at the University of the Pacific.

Back at home, Mr. Kimball has a wife and two daughters. His 26 year-old daughter is expecting her first child, and his 30 year-old daughter owns her own theater company. With such a such a busy schedule, you wouldn’t believe that he arrives back to the Lincoln High campus after his classes at UOP to help aid Mr. Freitas with the musical direction of our Spring play, “Into The Woods” featuring an original musical score by Steven Sondheim. Mr. Kimball is as hardworking and talented an individual there is at Lincoln High, who strives to inspire those around him. He treats his students as if they were family, and he instills confidence into those who don’t believe in themselves.

Mr. Kimball attended Berkeley High School in Berkeley, California, and during his high school career he participated in many extracurricular classes. Today, he claims that these classes are what helped him become the teacher that he is today. He participated in dance, choir, and music classes. He reminisces about the tour his choir class took to Canada where he met Ms. Watts-Willis, who is now Lincoln High’s talented pianist for the high school choir. He joined the orchestra where he enjoyed playing the French horn. He proudly states that this class had full winds and brass with strings sections making the group very advanced. “We were talented enough to play the entire Beethoven symphony in my high school orchestra,” recalled Mr. Kimball. An activity outside of high school that Kimball took part in was Boy Scouts. This is where he learned his passion for regular exercise. After high school, Kimball attended the University of the Pacific right down the street in Stockton, California. Kimball recalls, “ The choir program at Pacific completely changed my life and it foreshadowed the career path that I would later choose.” He was a music education major where he knew he wanted to be a future music teacher. He continued his studies at Holy Names University, a private Roman Catholic college in Oakland, where he continued with his major of music by learning the Kodaly Method whereby music is taught with combined rhythm and pitch. The Kodaly Method as a whole wants Clairisa Tomelloso, students to learn music in a collaborative group setting making it a social and cultural experience. This is a teaching method that Mr. Kimball uses with his students to this very day.

When the pandemic hit and online learning went into full gear, Mr. Kimball was frustrated at the outset. “Trying to teach music through a Zoom Meet was practically impossible,” said Kimball. “The basic beat of any song was simply wiped out.” Kimball decided to step up his game and created the concept of “echo music.” This is a teaching technique where one student would sing a few chords with the rest of the class singing right after them. This made an echo-like illusion, and it allowed the choir to perform during their Zoom Meets. Mr. Kimball composed all the songs for these echo lessons and even hosted mini- concerts where students performed for family members at home and other virtual classes. It was Mr. Kimball’s passion for music and teaching that brought music back into the digital classroom.

Mr. Kimball has had plenty of direct experience with musicals. He played the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz, and was cast as Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls both of which were during his high school career. He also played Adolfo Pirelli in Sweeney Todd, and the Head Drag Queen of La Cage Aux Folles. “My role in La Cage Aux Folles is a memory for a lifetime,” said Kimball. “It was absolutely my dream role.”

Paul Kimball is a talented musician, actor, and teacher who possesses the skill level and talent to juggle so many tasks. He finds great comfort in seeing his students tiny improvements each day in class. He knows how to entertain his classroom, but at the same time maintain the seriousness of the lesson being taught. He shared that he is soon planning on retiring in the next few years from his full-time teaching career. He claims that he will still be working with music, but he doesn’t want the responsibility of handling several different classes in several different locations.  I highly recommend to any fellow Trojans to enroll in a class taught by Mr. Kimball and enjoy his passion for music before he walks away into the sunset.