Mr Bergevin – Teacher Feature

By Lila Johansson

Teacher Feature: Mr Bergevin

Mr. Bergevin is the band director here at Edmonds Woodway. He directs concert, jazz, symphonic, and wind symphony. He is a long-time music teacher here and you’ve most likely seen him marching about through the hallways. During the first semester of every year, you can find him in the stands instructing the Edmonds – Woodway marching band. It was exciting to have the opportunity to chat with him and ask these questions that have been burning on so many people’s minds. 

Lila: How long have you been teaching in the music department?

Mr. Bergevin: I have been teaching here, this is my twenty-third year and I was a teacher seven years before that.

L: What did you teach before?

B: Music, but five years at terrace park and then two years over in Poulsbo.

L: Was there ever anything you wanted to do before you decided to teach music?

B: Be a musician.

L: What is your favorite high school memory?

B: Well, when I was in high school I had kind of a sketchy music experience in my tenth-grade year. It was a three-year high school and I came from a really good middle school band program. But, when I got to high school, the band was not that great and so I started a vocal jazz quartet with my wife. We were not married then, and we learned a whole bunch of songs and started performing all over the area as a band. One night I went to a concert at the paramount theater with the Manhattan jazz band (which was a very famous jazz quartet), and at the time they had just released their record called vocalese which was their most popular record, and I knew all the music. It was super fun and I sat in the very front row and lip-synced along with every single note of the whole concert, until about the second song before the end of the concert. The leader of the group, who’s now passed away (his name was Tim Houser), points down and starts talking to me in front of three thousand people: “Hey kid, what’s your deal, it seems like you know all these songs.” So I was like, “Yeah, we have a quartet, we love you, we listen to everything you do.” “You guys want to come up here and sing?” and so my wife was with me and another friend who was in the group and the three of us came up and sang with them. It was amazing. They invited us to come back the next night and gave us tickets, and we got to meet their families and sing again, so that was really cool.

L: What’s your favorite thing to do in your free time?

B: Well, I like to be with my family, and then when I’m with my family making music, that’s way up on the list. I have a brother that’s a good jazz piano player and we play a lot of music together, and both my sons are musicians so we play together, and like I said my wife is a musician too so that’s really a favorite, and then what else? I also like to cycle and I like to eat.

L: What kind of music do you prefer to listen to? 

B: I like everything, but primarily now I listen to jazz mostly because it benefits my students and I. I’m still performing quite a bit so listening to it makes me perform better, but I like everything, yeah. I like R&B and gospel and classical and classical trumpet and country western even. I don’t spend a lot of time listening to country western but I loved Roger Millen when I was a kid. My dad was in the rodeo and so we were kind of hooked on country western. 

L: If you could have dinner with anyone dead or alive, who would it be and why?

B: I don’t know, I think Jesus would be really interesting. I don’t know anybody who does miracles and I think it would be pretty cool if you could get to know him and talk to him and watch a miracle. It would be a big life moment.

L: What’s your main inspiration?

B: People. Everyday people yeah, when students get lit up about stuff or when people are excited about anything. If somebody’s passionate about something it makes me excited. So when anybody gets passionate about anything.

L: How was playing New York for Essentially Ellington?

B: Oh wow, it was really good. We’ve gone five times and they’ve all been super different trips and they were all about three years apart starting in 2003, and we haven’t gone now since 2017. It’s fantastic, it’s really fun to get to go to New York period, but then going with a bunch of students and kinda seeing the experience through their eyes is really powerful. 

L: Do you think you’re going to go again sometime soon?

B: I hope so, but I have no idea.

L: What’s your first memory of teaching?

B: Well, when I got my first job in Poulsbo teaching middle school I shared the office with my wife, I was the band teacher and she was the choir teacher and it was kind of a run-down school, and so we had a lot of really great kids and we made a lot of great music that we also spent a ton of time in the evenings like fixing up the room, I rented scaffolding and I actually painted the interior of the band room. The whole band room and it was huge.

L: These are the student requests. The first one is, do you really have a moped?

B: It’s not a moped, it’s a scooter. I do, I really do have one.

L: The last one is, what is your biggest regret?

B: Let’s see, I don’t like quitting and so I remember in ninth grade I quit baseball in the middle of the season because I wanted to practice music more, and I didn’t really tell the coach, I just kind of like faded off and it was a very bad way to quit. I’ve always regretted that.

It was an honor to get to speak with Mr. Bergevin and get a peek into his exciting life as a music teacher here at Edmonds Woodway!

Stay tuned for more teacher features!

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