Following a national search, Shenandoah Conservatory has appointed Hillary Ridgley, Ph.D., as assistant professor of music education (choral emphasis) beginning August 2020. She will join the music education faculty as well as the choral music program as an ensemble director.
“The search committee was fortunate to face a difficult choice among very strong candidates,” said Dean of Shenandoah Conservatory Michael Stepniak, Ed.D. “Ultimately, they presented a strong recommendation for professor Ridgley and we are excited to have her join our community in the fall.” Stepniak continued, “Beyond bringing exceptional musicianship and teaching skills, and an orientation that is both collaborative and oriented toward innovation — including her work promoting music making within prison systems — she has the clear potential to mentor students and advance her area of work as a choral clinician and director at a national level.”
Dr. Ridgley brings with her a wealth of experience and an outstanding reputation as a choral musician and pedagogue. As a conductor and teacher in public school and university settings, she has demonstrated success in the development and sustainability of choral music programs throughout her career. Choirs under her direction have consistently grown in membership and musical skills resulting in invited performances at state and division conferences for the American Choral Directors Association. She is becoming a sought-after clinician and guest conductor for middle and high school honor choirs.
“Dr. Ridgley will bring several important dimensions to our music education program,” said Director and Professor of Music Education and chair of the search committee Stephanie Standerfer, Ph.D. “As an exceptional musician she can adapt to all age and skill levels, which is crucial for a mentor of pre-service music teachers. Her interests and abilities for high-level presentations and research will be invaluable to practicing teachers in our Master of Music Education program.”
Ridgley’s current scholarly interests include developing partnerships between the university and community, including teacher/student populations within K-12 public education, and teaching/learning opportunities in prison systems. She has an impressive record of presentations and research, including those of the topics of music literacy development, choral conducting and improvisation. She completed her doctoral degree in music education and conducting at Florida State University, working closely with renowned conductor Dr. André Thomas. Her doctoral research on the choral settings of Sara Teasdale’s works resulted in an extensive guide for choral music educators. Recent professional presentations include a choral conducting workshop at Shenandoah Conservatory and music literacy seminars in Mississippi and New York. Future conference sessions scheduled include the Florida Music Educators Association State Convention, the Southern Region American Choral Directors Association Conference and Eastern Region American Choral Directors Association.