CB’s Own Mr. Bohm

Multi-talented, passionate, and hilarious are a few of a handful of words that I hear when people describe CB Choral Director Mr. Christian Bohm. “He’s a strong role model for his students,” says choir student Jaina Benton (‘23). “He understands how to keep people engaged in what they are being taught. He knows how to […]

Multi-talented, passionate, and hilarious are a few of a handful of words that I hear when people describe CB Choral Director Mr. Christian Bohm.

“He’s a strong role model for his students,” says choir student Jaina Benton (‘23). “He understands how to keep people engaged in what they are being taught. He knows how to get along with students while still being able to keep control of his classes.”

“I’ve known Mr. Bohm since I was 15 years old,” says Technical Director of the George Cunningham ’40 Performing Arts Center Ms. Heather Christianson ‘01. Ms. Christianson met Mr. Bohm her freshman year here at CB and he quickly became a favorite.

“I took Mr. Bohm’s summer school class and he said two things: one why are you not in my choir and two why are you not auditioning for my shows?” she recalled. “He started me on my path of technical theater. He came up to me with a light board and put it in my hands and was like ‘can you figure this out? I don’t have time to figure this out.’ And then he handed me the sound mixer and was like can you figure this out too?’ And that really started my entire career path.”

Mr. Bohm and his Honors Chorale

Mr. Bohm has managed to become an influential part of students’ lives and a helping hand for many. But he still lives up to his teacher label. “Professional, sarcastic in the best of ways,” is how Ms. Christianson describes him. 

She recalled a moment where she caught Mr. Bohm on all fours in the grass with a puppy a student had brought in. And then continued to reveal his side of harsh criticism that one can always know is meant with love. 

“You know each choir is a team,” Mr. Bohm says, “And when one member of the choir is doing well, we all do well. When one person has a really good solo, we all have that great solo because it reflects on all of us.”

Mr. Bohm teaches with the goal of bringing his students together to create a beautiful product. His teaching values are clearly shown through each of his students. The choir teacher makes sure to keep his classroom safe and comfortable for all members of his choirs.

“And if one of us is suffering, then we’re all suffering. And we need to help that person get to where they need to be, whether that be emotionally or musically or whatever,” says Mr. Bohm.

But where did this journey to perfect teaching begin?

“I graduated with an MBA in investments and I went to work for this stock brokerage company called Dean Witter,” Mr. Bohm says. “I worked for them for three years and then I transferred to a different stock company with Wells Fargo Securities, which is a part of Wells Fargo’s Bank.”

“And at that time, I was still doing music and what not in the evenings with a friend of mine, John Mitchell, who now lives in LA,” says Bohm. “He and I started a musical theater company together called Coyote Theater Company here in Sacramento.”

Mr. Bohm has always had a passion for music and performing arts, encouraging others to participate. “We had auditions for the entire season. We had four shows, so we cast the entire season. And one of the ladies who we cast at our Christmas show named Bobbie Wilson was the music teacher here at Christian Brothers High School.”

“So she said, ‘Do you want to come teach?’ And I said ‘Well I’ve always wanted to teach you know. How much do you make?’” He inevitably responded with a blunt no. “I’m not going from six figures to a quarter of that,” Bohm said with a laugh. 

“So life went on and I didn’t become a teacher and I got a promotion with Wells Fargo Securities to a branch in San Francisco,” he recounts. 

But his story wasn’t over. “A group of friends and I went to a Renaissance fair together. And I ran into Bobie Wilson again.”

“And she’s like ‘I am still looking for a music teacher’’” he says, “And I was so unhappy with my job at the time and I’m like I’ll do it, I want to do it, I don’t care what I get paid, I am so so tired.”

“And so I was a stockbroker on a Friday and a music teacher on the next Monday. Just like that,” he said with the snap of a finger.

Mr. Bohm rushed back to Sacramento and began teaching. “My first class was string ensemble, that was A set,” tells Bohm. “And so I was teaching strings and about halfway through the class, I was like ‘this is what I want to do, this is it, I think I found it.’ And thirty years later, here I am.”

CB offered Mr. Bohm a place to find his calling and offered the encouragement many of us often need. Whether it be a thoughtful teacher, club, or peaceful part of campus, we all have something that tells us “CB is the place to be”. Christian Brothers offers four years of encouragement and guidance to point us in the right direction for our success. But what struck Mr. Bohm in his first few moments teaching here?

“The joy and excitement students have especially after a concert or after a gig or a musical,” he explains. “Or just seeing the excitement that you all have, having accomplished a really difficult goal. That takes a lot of time and practice and synergy with other students.”

“That part is the coolest part for me to see, that the payoff is all said and done.”

We all have a handful of favorite memories, but does Mr. Bohm have one teaching? “One of them is in this picture right here,” he points to a photo of him in blue and star striped pajamas as he flies across the stage. 

Mr. Bohm flying with the stars

“So I was at Sacred Heart Cathedral [High School in San Francisco] and I had a really great program. I worked there for 18 years and I had built my program to 200 students, all choir kids,” he explains. “So we were doing a ’70s themed concert and we decided to do ‘Stairway to Heaven’. So the technical director, his name is Tim Mahoney, he rigged a fly system up,” he says. “So they hooked me up and during the instrumental of ‘Stairway to Heaven’, I come out in these starred pajamas and I flew across the stage.”

“That’s one of my favorite memories right there, flying across the stage,” just like the super hero we all picture him as. Mr. Bohm manages to inspire his students every day and encourage each choir to do their best. He has left an impact on all of his students that everyone carries along with them. His positivity and hilarious jokes make class exciting and each performance worth looking forward to.

Men’s chorus conducted by Mr. Bohm

Mr. Bohm’s undeniable likability is what has made him a favorite teacher for the last 30 years. Thank you Mr. Bohm for everything you have done for CB and what you will continue to do. We all appreciate the harsh jokes and judgmental glares that can always be taken lightly. Or the constant encouragement and deserved praise that is always genuine. You see potential that most of us never make out in ourselves. This comes from every student who never got to say thank you.

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