Lida Beasley “One of my favorite things is to start programs and get them going. I like providing the spark.”

Hunting through the store room at SMC’s Concert Hall for an instrument was futile: the cupboard was bare. “That’s what we want, isn’t it?” says Lida Beasley in her lilting Arkansas drawl. “It means that somebody’s using them.”

“I definitely see myself as a musician,” reflects Lida. “But primarily I’m an educator.” Music has always been part of her family—her father was a band director for 40 years and her son, John, is a successful studio keyboard musician.

Now in her fifth year at SMC, Lida has seen the symphony orchestra and concert band grow and branch off into numerous woodwind string and brass ensembles. In February, Lida Beasley plans to conduct the Southern California Honors Orchestra, composed of exceptional high school students, in concert. “It’s exciting to take these students, all this rough talent,” she says, “and in one weekend form them into a band.”

Lida hopes for continued improvement in the Music Department at SMC. “We really need a listening lab with a sizeable library of classical recordings,” she says. Growing thoughtful, she adds, “I prefer teaching students who aren’t doing well academically or socially. After they learn to play an instrument well, I love to see how their lives begin to change.”

​Read more stories from present and past years in the SMC Student Spotlight Archive.