About Mrs. Strawderman
Hello! My name is Jessica Strawderman and I first and foremost love to sing. Music has tailored my life from the start and I hope that it does for you, too! I grew up in Kettering, Ohio, where I graduated from Kettering Fairmont High School after marching with the Marching Firebirds as a flutist, piccoloist, and drum major, playing in Wind Ensemble, singing in Symphonic Chorale and Eleventh Hour a cappella group, and performing in Illusion Show Choir. After high school, I moved to Virginia and attended Bridgewater College, where I majored in Music Education and was equally involved in music ensembles. With the choral program, I directed the handbell choir, had conducting and solo opportunities, and toured much of the east coast and even Hungary and Austria. Throughout middle school, high school, and college, I performed in several musicals, including The Secret Garden, Carnival, The Music Man, The Baker's Wife, and Songs for a New World. I love being a part of a musical team and the art that culminates from our efforts.
This passion has brought me to my love of teaching! In 2012-2015, I taught general, choral, and instrumental music grades K-12 at Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind in Staunton, Virginia. There, I learned that musicianship is not purely visual or aural, but also tactile, kinesthetic, visceral, emotional, and intellectual. Students were singing and playing recorders, percussion, woodwind instruments, brass instruments, strings, guitars, jug band instruments, and even kazoos! We put on two staged musicals, Schoolhouse Rock, Live! Jr. and Into the Woods Junior. Both were whole school and community efforts, with visually impaired students acting and singing, deaf students dancing and narrating, and the staff directing, designing, and helping backstage. Making music at VSDB wasn't about working with disabilities, but accentuating and cultivating abilities.
Then a great thing happened: I joined the Rockingham County community of fine arts! That means I get to work with you! Last year was a great year of lots of singing at J. Frank Hillyard and Montevideo. Hillyard choirs traveled to Barnes and Noble and performed at home for community members at our Veterans' Day Assembly. Montevideo created a new phenomenon by starting both student and faculty a cappella groups. I also had the pleasure of directing the Munchkins for Spotswood High School's production of Wizard of Oz. I can't wait to see what's in store for this year!
I love making music in the community as well! I was fortunate to direct the adult and children's choirs at Montezuma Church of the Brethren for five years. I have guest performed with the Shenandoah Valley Choral Society and participated in the Bridgewater College Alumni Choir over the past six summers. Being a lifelong musician doesn't mean that you have to major in music or become a professional. It means that you are active and engaged in the music culture around you in your local or global community.
I live in Harrisonburg with my husband, Logan, who is also a musician and owns and operates Lola Mo's Delicatessen, and our 2 year old son, OWEN! We have a dog, Juliet, and a cat, Michonne. Thanks for getting to know a little bit about me and I look forward to getting to know you!