Meet Brandywine’s new band directorPublished 4:47pm Wednesday, July 11, 2012
When Ruth Livengood was a child, music was the only thing in which she excelled.
The Niles resident was able to draw from music her self worth and value as a person. She blossomed because of it.
As the new band director at Brandywine Junior/Senior High School, Livengood said she hopes to allow others the same opportunity to grow through music.
“You never know what kid might pick up an instrument and be amazing at it … and they never would’ve known otherwise if they weren’t given that chance,” she said. “It gives them something to latch onto … that’s what keeps me coming back every day.”
Livengood replaces former band director Sarah Bopp, who took a job in the South Haven school district.
Prior to joining Brandywine, Livengood was band director at Berrien Springs, where she doubled participation in the band program from the time she started as a long-term substitute in 2009. It was her first job out of college.
“When I was in Berrien Springs, they stayed in the program when I was able to build a relationship with them,” she said. “That was the key to holding them there — building that relationship.”
Livengood, whose husband is a 1999 graduate of Brandywine, said she hopes to do the same here.
“There is great appeal for me to grow the program in both quality and quantity in the district I live in … the district my kids will go to,” she said. “Music is very important to me, and I want my children to have a healthy musical environment.”
Livengood obtained her bachelor’s degree in musical education from Western Michigan University and her master’s degree in trombone performance.
She is a member of the St. Joseph jazz trombone ensemble, Dynabones, and plays in Sonshine Circe Band, a ministry for disabled children.
She grew up in Three Oaks and went to public school at River Valley.
Livengood said she will also teach one theater class and one elementary music class.