BEMIDJI -- Music lovers in the Bemidji area are quite familiar with the talents of Beverly Everett. Since 2005, she has been the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra’s conductor and music director.
Next week, the global music world will have the chance to get to know her. Everett has been selected as a panelist for the third International Symposium Women Conductor, an event that will be held virtually because of COVID-19 concerns. The first two symposiums were held in 2016 in São Paulo, Brazil and in 2018 in Montevideo, Uruguay.
On Sunday, Sept. 20, Everett will give a 10-minute presentation titled "Building Community: the Conductor as Servant Leader." The event's website is women-conductors.com/symposium-2020.
The main objective of the symposium, which runs Sept. 16-20, is to “promote working groups, which will develop action items in implementing cultural policies for female inclusivity in music, and to elaborate a manifesto that promotes equal opportunities for women in music.”
Everett, who also conducts the Bismarck-Mandan Symphony, said she was flattered to be invited to speak.
“When I read the slate of the other people who are participating, I am just really honored and humbled to have my name on the same list as theirs,” she said.
Everett said she was inspired to choose the servant leadership topic by Sister Thomas Welder, who died in July. Welder was the longest serving female college president in the United States, leading the University of Mary in Bismarck for 31 years. She was instrumental in the creation of the Christian Leadership Center at the college.
“Every time I got to see her I felt like it was a special occasion, even if it was just a five-minute conversation in the hallway,” said Everett, who taught organ students in a chapel next to Sister Thomas’ office. “She also was a big fan of the orchestra.”
Everett said she is looking forward to connecting with other female orchestra conductors during the symposium.
“I’m very fortunate that I have the positions I have,” she said. “I was really struck by Sister Thomas’ definition of servant leadership and how it ties in really beautifully to being an orchestral conductor. I think it ties in specifically as how we as women in the field can use our strengths to be good leaders. We don’t all have to be alike. One thing that comes to mind is maintaining higher expectations. The idea of being a servant leader doesn’t mean that you cower under and lower expectations.”