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Bechtel steps into role as professor of voice

Lydia Bechtel Edmonson, assistant instructional professor of music, spends a lot of time on the piano while giving her student’s personal voice lessons. Her office is located in room 101 of McCray Hall. Libby Davis

Lydia Bechtel has been hired as the newest full time professor in the department of music at PSU.

After spending last school year as an adjunct professor, she has now been hired to teach three music history courses and seven voice lessons full time. 

“I love music, I’ve always enjoyed teaching, and I like performing too..,” Bechtel said. “Which is why I enjoy this, I get to do a little bit of it all!”

Bechtel earned a bachelor’s of music in vocal performance from Oklahoma State University, a master’s in vocal performance from Colorado State University, and a master’s in musicology and a doctorate in vocal performance from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Her academic journey took approximately 10 years to complete.

Bechtel graduated with her doctorate in May 2020, a time when finding employment in academia was difficult for some. Because of this, she began to personally reach out to universities, focusing on ones that were close to Eureka, Kan. with the intent to stay close to her family. 

Initially there were no open positions at PSU. But with the retirement of professor of music history and oboe David Hurley, she was given the opportunity to be an adjunct professor in the 2020-2021 school year. It was with the recent departure of a PSU voice teacher Stella Lua that left another position open.

“Everything fell together in a way that allows me to do both things..,” Bechtel said. “Which is what I was hoping to do anyway, that’s why I got both degrees. I really like teaching in the classroom and one-on-one with students in the voice studio.”

Bechtel believes she offers her students a new perspective because her love for music has taken her throughout the Midwest as well as the world. 

“Because of music I’ve gotten to travel to a lot of cool places. I’ve been to Hawaii, France, Austria, Bulgaria, Romania, and England to sing,” Bechtel said. 

Music has provided Bechtel with many opportunities despite having grown up on a cattle ranch in a town of just over 2,000 people, and she hopes to have a career that encourages and supports students to pursue the same exciting chances.

“In general, my small background is different from a lot of people who earn their doctorate, especially in music…,” Bechtel said. “I can relate to some of the kids who didn’t come from Kansas City or a really big district but have always loved music.”

Bechtel also shared her short and long term goals of her music career.

“I look forward to going out to local high schools and showing off what Pitt State has to offer… getting articles published, and to continue performing,” she said.

Bechtel will also be a featured soloist with the PSU Wind Ensemble on Nov. 14, 7pm 

“We are really lucky in our music department to have such beautiful facilities like McCray’s recital hall and the Bicknell Center..,” Bechtel said. “I’m really excited to be in Gorilla Nation.”

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