Ms. Smith is very excited to join the orchestra program at Downing Middle School for her first year of teaching! In addition to teaching at Downing, she is also starting the orchestra program at Lamar Middle School.
Ms. Smith recently completed her master’s degree in cello performance at the University of North Texas, where she studied with Nikola Ruzevic. Ms. Smith started playing cello in the elementary orchestra program in her hometown of Scottsdale, AZ. While at UNT, she performed with the symphony orchestra, and in April of 2016, was a member of the winning group of the strings division of the UNT Chamber Music Competition. Prior to coming to UNT, Ms. Smith earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from Luther College in Decorah, IA, where she studied with Eric Kutz.
Bethany Hardwick is the Director of Orchestras at Downing Middle School. She is in her seventh year of teaching at Downing. Ms. Hardwick’s orchestras have received numerous awards, including Sweepstakes awards at UIL, and the Best in Class and Best in Festival awards at the Director’s Choice Festival for the last six years.
Ms. Hardwick is a graduate of the University of North Texas where she earned a degree in Music Education and studied under Phil Lewis. Ms. Hardwick began playing the violin in fifth grade in San Antonio, TX. While at UNT, she performed regularly with the UNT Symphony Orchestra, UNT Mariachi Aguilas, UNT Jazz strings, and served as concert master for the UNT Repertoire Orchestra for six semesters. In 2015, Ms. Hardwick was named a quarter finalist for the Grammy Music Educator Award. She was one of 213 chosen out of over 4,500 nominees from across the country. In 2016, Ms. Hardwick was also named the Downing MS Teacher of the Year!