When Wilberg offered to teach the workshop, Aguirre was surprised. Even more so the next day, when he said Wilberg called to ask if he could teach a class regularly.
Wilberg conducted the first workshop in February. He said he was impressed by the inmates' desire and dedication to learning to perform music.
"I was a little nervous at first," he said. "I didn't know what to expect, but that first time I ... looked at all these inmates I know they have had challenges in their lives and to see them come together [to sing], I was moved by that."
Aguirre said the inmates love Wilberg even though Wilberg works them much harder than they're used to.
Wilberg has taught the men's choir about once a week since Easter. He's not always able to make it in person, he said, and when he can't, he turns the class over to his co-director, Roland Pitt.
Pitt accompanied Wilberg's choir on the piano during the recital and closed the concert with a movement from Ludwig van Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata.
Pitt, whom Wilberg described as "very talented," is an inmate. He also has a Ph.D.-level education in classical piano performance, plays the organ and a little string bass, and has taken up the violin in the past year or so.
The choir, Pitt said, provides his fellow inmates with a rare opportunity to set and work toward goals. Under his direction, the prison's choir had already established itself something he said helped inspire Wilberg to continue with the group.
Pitt decided to teach music at the prison as a way to make up for his past mistakes. He said the choir provides a similar outlet for other inmates.
"It's a really good program to feel like they are contributing something back to the community," he said.