Name: Amy Bearden ’06, Pictured at far-left with members of The Marion Consort (from left to right) Molly Pufall-Brown ’05, Chris Henricks ’04, Hans Royal-Hedinger ’08, Kyle Shiver-Simpson ’07, Kristen Donnelly ’10 and Melissa Curtis ’06.
Current job position (or additional field of study) and where:
Elementary Music Teacher at Horizon Science Academy – McKinley Park, Chicago and Artistic Director of The Marion Consort, Chicago
Why did you choose MU?
I don’t think I could have articulated the reasons at the time, but I knew that I wanted to go to a small school. I had heard about Millikin because Chapter 6 had come to perform at my high school. I visited the campus in September of my senior year and felt right at home. I knew Millikin was the place I wanted to be.
What activities did you participate in as a student?
I was a member of University Choir and One Voice. I was also an orientation leader and worked in the Office of Student Programs.
Who was your most memorable MU professor and why?
I had so many wonderful professors at Millikin – it makes it hard to narrow down! I would say Dr. Hadi Gibbons, my voice teacher. I started with her my sophomore year. She whipped me into shape while giving me the freedom to explore different styles of music – one of the aspects that led me to explore early music.
What is your most memorable MU experience?
As a music education major, I student taught in the second semester of my senior year. The UChoir Homecoming tour concert in January of that school year would be my last real concert with the University Choir. During my final performance of “Praise to the Lord” as a UChoir member, Dr. Holmes stopped conducting, closed his eyes, smiled and just took in the music. I still get emotional thinking about that moment.
What is one concept you learned at Millikin that you use in your work regularly?
I believe that Millikin prepared me extremely well for my teaching career and for ensemble directing. The hands-on experience I got early on was so important in helping me get used to being in the classroom.
What do you enjoy most about your current job?
There are so many enjoyable aspects to teaching elementary music. I love laughing and jumping around with my students, as well as experiencing the excitement on a child’s face when they finally learn what a quarter note is. It’s the little things! With The Marion Consort, I love being able to continue to make music with my best friends and to explore new, old music. [Editor’s note: The Marion Consort is an early music ensemble that specializes in choral music from the medieval, baroque and Renaissance periods. Learn more at: www.marionconsort.org.]
What have you done that you are most proud of since graduating from MU?
I am most proud of starting The Marion Consort, which had been a dream of mine for some time. I took the plunge and even went back to get my master’s degree in early music from Indiana University. Since then, highlights include being featured on Milwaukee Public Radio and singing at the Chicago Cultural Center. Come hear us! The Marion Consort will perform an a cappella Christmas concert Sunday, Dec. 15, at 4 p.m., at the Byron Colby Barn, 1561 Jones Point Rd, Grayslake, Ill. For information, visit the Byran Colby Barn website.
Where do you hope to be five years from now?
I would love to continue performing regularly with The Marion Consort, and maybe even link up with a school where The Marion Consort could be the artist-in-residence and we could give workshops about early music and a cappella music.
What advice would you give to current Millikin students about preparing for life after graduation?
Don’t leave everything to the last minute, but don’t always plan everything. Some things you just have to either let happen or wait out. Follow your heart, no matter what.
Want to be spotlighted as the "Young Alum of the Month?" We are seeking recommendations and self-nominations for outstanding young alumni who have demonstrated innovative and responsible professional leadership and have the potential for future success. Email Jaclyn Weisenborn '09, associate director of alumni engagement, with a short write-up of why you or your nominee should be considered for this profile. Please include a list of successes and achievements in your nomination, and attach a portrait or headshot (if available). One alum will be featured each month in MY Times.