Westby Area High School choral director retires in concert featuring 28 years of alumni

Peter Engh Top Notch
Screen grab from story when Peter Engh was named News 8 Now's Top Notch Teacher in June 2020.

WESTBY, Wis. (WKBT) — The choral director for Westby Area High School, who confesses to getting goosebumps and teary-eyed when the choir sings well, probably had bumps as big as goose eggs and cried himself a river during his final concert Friday night.

Peter Engh marked his retirement in a big way as his concert choir, cantate choir and 28 years of alumni joined together on stage for “Where You Go.”

“This piece is a recent SATB arrangement and the majority of alumni had never performed it,” according to Engh’s wife, Pastor Michele Engh of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Viroqua.

All four soloists in the performance are alumni, Michele wrote in a note to WKBT News 8 Now.

Engh, whose claims to fame during his 28 years at the high school include nightly Facebook Live performances to cheer folks up when the COVID-19 pandemic throttled them in 2020, also was News 8 Now’s Top-Notch Teacher in June 2020.

In that Top Notch story, Engh explained, ““If it keeps me going, and it keeps people going through music, why not? And obviously, I’m not gonna quit now. And people are wondering if I’m running out of material. But no, not at all.”

As for Engh’s swan song as choir director at Friday night’s concert, he says: “I truly believe that this song sums up my 28 year career here at the Westby Area School District. ‘Where you go I will go, Where you stay I will stay.’

“These words in song are so fitting for the times that we are living in. Thank you all, I am in absolute awe of the outpouring of love, good wishes and sentiment towards me these past few months. Friday night was absolutely amazing from start to finish.

“To the current Westby High School Choir and Alumni, you were there for me, just as I have been there for you. The outpouring of love in all of your songs so rang true in all of our hearts. I will be forever indebted to Ron Bjerke for giving me a chance to be the best that I could be and to continue the Westby legacy. Thanks to all who have made this possible.”

Facebook link to video of “Where You Go” during Engh’s retirement concert:


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