Hop into the World of Choir with Mrs. Beadle!

Yejin Lee ’23

This year, Mrs. Beadle joined our school as the new choir director. Prior to Ridge, she taught general music and chorus at Liberty Corner Elementary School, but she has since stepped up to take on Ridge’s choir ensemble in these chaotic times. She is a wonderful director with bright ideas on how to approach the unconventional virtual platform.

Mrs. Beadle has always had an attachment to music, at only 3 years old she began playing piano, and at that moment she was hooked! Her parents ultimately provided her with piano lessons because they didn’t want to hear “banging on the piano anymore”. Mrs. Beadle also played in her school’s band, taking on multiple instruments such as flute, oboe, percussion, and she even joined the marching band. In high school, she started to become more invested in choir, itself, and enjoyed musicals. A huge defining moment in her career took place in college, where she maintained piano as her main instrument; she eventually had to choose between the chorale and instrumental track, and in the end, landed on chorale. This decision kept her in choir and led her to where she is now. 

As a choir director, Mrs. Beadle’s favorite part about teaching choir is working towards a project and having an end performance to build up to. Another plus is the publicity of choir, families get excited to see concerts, and the whole community looks forward to it too; a choir brings a “sense of community” and togetherness. Mrs. Beadle also loves the creativity that people can take with music, she describes the process of “picking a song, really getting to know it well, and finding different ways to bring it to life” as being one of the best moments of creativity through the singing process. She tries to make every performance special in its own way, be it with instrumentals, choreography, or visuals. To her, the creative process of making a final product that everyone can enjoy is a big part of choir. Additionally, as she is new to the high school, she enjoys the enthusiasm of students, which she believes brings individuality to the choir itself. Mrs. Beadle has observed that Ridge is filled to the brim with so many talented students with such unique voices, and she finds that “nurturing that and letting [that talent] grow” is a big highlight of being here. She finds the leadership in the ensembles to be amazing as people have stepped up to improve and aid in the process of building a virtual choir. 

Mrs. Beadle also has a strong philosophy that “it is important to be exposed to different cultures, genres, and backgrounds”. Though she won’t be teaching us on the music of 2020, she believes it is her job to push students’ boundaries and expose them to unfamiliar subjects. She keenly puts it as “educating you on subjects outside of Spotify” and appreciating differences of music. Mrs. Beadle stresses the importance of different time periods and cultures of music. Another part of her belief is that character is a very important part of choir, she stresses ideas like teamwork and comradery, and students working together to make something beautiful and an outcome everyone can enjoy. As she so eloquently puts it, choir is “not just about the music, it’s about the people behind it too”.

But, with the COVID pandemic, choir has changed to accommodate health regulations and safety, which at first, prevented singing in person. Mrs. Beadle equates the experience to “trying to teach math with no numbers, you can talk about the history of math and theory, but you’re missing the main part”. But luckily, Mrs. Beadle views her new position in a positive light, with this being her first year teaching at Ridge, she has no comparisons to what it used to be like, and it allows her to step outside the box with her instruction. She enjoys the challenge of the new venue and being able to think in a virtual world is very exciting for her. In October, she finally got approval to sing with the students outside, and despite all the challenges leading up to it, she really wanted to work towards a goal. Mrs. Beadle chose pieces for each ensemble and ended up using 3 performance platforms: live performances, virtual choirs, where students submit individual videos, and music video-esque soundtracks with visuals (all done with the help of the Ridge Productions Club). Due to these unprecedented times, everything is slowly unfolding as time continues, and all of these events have formed organically due to the community’s contributions. But we can all still look forward to amazing chorale, concert choir, and a cappella performances in the near future.

For anyone who is interested in choir, Mrs. Beadle wants them to know that they are always welcome to join, regardless of past experience. She states that “the nice thing about choir is that you can hop back in a lot easier, [without feeling] like you’re behind”. In fact, right outside the choir room, she has a sign reading “you are not and it is not too late”. Ridge has 3 ensembles: chorale (9-10th grade girls), concert choir (11-12th grade girls and all grades boys), and a capella (auditions, all grades). So don’t be afraid to hop into the world of choir and music! Step outside of your comfort zone and just give it a try, even if it is a bit unfamiliar to you. Mrs. Beadle would love to see a variety of people of different hobbies and interests in the choir room, “all the many gifts mixed together”.