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Celebrating Mrs. Hazelrigg’s 25 Years with Berean

Celebrating Mrs. Hazelrigg’s 25 Years with Berean

The BCHS band, combined choirs and over 60 Alumni came together to perform at Mrs. Hazelrigg's final concert on May 13.

by Stacy Whitwell, Berean Christian Newspaper Club

Whether you have been a choir kid forever or have never taken a music class in your life, you cannot ignore the impact of Mrs. Hazelrigg in this school. Her smile, laughter, and joy for her job, as well as her dedication to all of the students at Berean brings a sense of elation and happiness to every student and faculty member alike.

In 1998 Mrs. Hazelrigg joined the Berean family after “auditioning” for the position of a music teacher. She had heard about the job through her children–who were currently attending Berean–and was asked by the principal to teach choir, band, guitar, and lead musicals. Despite being daunted by the substantial work, her inexperience with the guitar, and her general distaste for musicals, she took the job and was glad that the principal was not inquisitive about her history with the guitar and opinion on musicals. She vividly remembers her first year at Berean and the details of her first musical Fiddler on the Roof, including the stellar cast, the first time she saw the play, and the building of the set. Without the support of a drama teacher or the knowledge and experience of a seasoned director, Mrs. Hazelrigg managed to lead the play all on her own with great success.

It has been more than 25 years since Mrs. Hazelrigg first led Fiddler, leading countless concerts, choir tours, and musicals since then. Some of her favorite memories have been on the choir tours, seeing the students interact with kids, the elderly, and visit colleges. For some of the students, these experiences have literally been life-changing; some of them even end up switching colleges, majors, and career paths after recognizing what God has truly called them to do through music. The wild stories and jokes throughout the years on the long bus rides have particularly stood out to her, and she said that she has never laughed harder in her entire life than on some of the rides with the students. Other outstanding funny moments include productions and rehearsals gone wrong, wigs falling off, actors forgetting their roles, and costumes falling apart.

She also remembers more solemn, memorable times as well. Once, when the Berean choir was at an intense competition, she charged the nervous group to sing so that “the judges put down their pencils and stop writing,” being filled with awe over the beauty of the music. She, doubtful that this would ever happen, watched with amazement as each member of the choir sang their hearts out and, slowly, each judge laid down his pencil to watch the group. Another time a college music teacher watched one of her choir concerts and turned to Mrs. Hazelrigg in tears midway through the performance and asked her why she herself was crying. She cherishes the times that alumni have returned to visit (or even teach!), and the progress that each student makes in his or her instrument. From the smallest smile from a freshman, to the veteran choir member, to an upperclassman trying out music for the first time, Mrs. Hazelrigg has loved every moment and sees each a blessing, treasuring them forever in her heart.

Above all, Mrs. Hazelrigg’s favorite part of her job has been getting to know her students, helping them not only fall in love with music but to fall in love with Jesus, instilling in them a passion for the Lord. Undoubtedly, the faith and hope that she has had ever since she was a child has been infectious at Berean, as her joy in the Lord is evident in all that she does. She is also grateful to all of her fellow teachers, and the support, encouragement, and friendship that they have given her over the years.

Mrs. Hazelrigg would also like to recognize and thank her husband John for all of the love and dedication that he has provided. Students often see him behind the piano at concerts and musicals, but he has many other fantastic attributes besides being a master at the piano. They have been married for over 43 years, and Mrs. Hazelrigg admits that he does not know what he got into when he married her. He has been her team partner since the beginning, and has done everything from building sets to setting up the lights and sounds.

Mrs. Hazelrigg never imagined that she would spend the majority of her adulthood at a school that she had never heard of until a few years prior to working there, but both all those at Berean are eternally grateful she did. She advises students who are interested in pursuing music to be ready for hard work and lots of hours in college, as well as to remain humble in working with students, recognizing that they will never achieve perfection. She also takes comfort in knowing that one of her former students (Mr. Kerr) will be taking over her position, since he has not only proven himself to be a capable leader but someone who genuinely cares for his students. 

Mrs. Hazelrigg, your impact on Berean is indescribable. You have touched countless students, teachers, parents, and people both inside and outside the walls of your classroom, and you have truly lit up this school with your deep love for God, others, and music. You have taught generations to fear the Lord and follow in His ways, and you will be missed dearly by every member of your Berean family. We praise God for your service and the lasting impact that you have made on this school. We will miss you, and we hope that you have a wonderful retirement.


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