BeVerly (Jeri) Lemon Zacharias
BeVerly Zacharias, widely known by her nickname, Jeri, taught voice and piano and directed choirs for nearly twenty years in Seventh-day Adventist schools. More recently, she has maintained a private studio in her home and taught at the Creative Arts Guild in Dalton, Georgia.
BeVerly was born in Arpin, Wisconsin, the youngest in a family of six children. All her brothers and sisters were musical, and she inherited that gift, beginning piano lessons at age six and marimba lessons at ten. She continued her music study at Indiana Academy, where she also took singing and organ lessons.
During her college years, Zacharias alternated between a nursing and music major, with an interest in organ and voice performance. She began college at Emmanuel Missionary College, now Andrews University, then transferred for her second year to Southwestern Union College, now Southwestern Adventist University, where she met her future husband, Charles Zacharias. The next transfer was to Walla Walla College, now University, where she continued study as a music major but went on to Portland Sanitarium, now Portland Adventist Hospital, where she completed the Licensed Practical Nurse course in 1966.
Zacharias worked for a number of years as a nurse while her husband attended graduate school and served a term in the army. Later, after her husband took a teaching job at Pioneer Valley Academy in Massachusetts, she commuted to Atlantic Union College, where she completed a B.Mus. with a major in voice in 1975. One of the highlights in her time at AUC was serving as a choral assistant to Jon Robertson.
Zacharias began her academy teaching experience at PVA, where she directed one of the choirs and taught music appreciation. In 1977, Charles and Jeri accepted positions as music teachers at Dakota Adventist Academy in North Dakota, where they worked for three years. She taught choir, voice, and some of the piano students and also served as registrar during one of those years.
Beginning in the summer of 1979, Zacharias worked on a masterís degree at Andrews University in the summers. She graduated in 1983 with an M.Mus. in music education, having studied voice with Carolyn Rhodes Bisel and James Hanson.
In 1980 both Jeri and Charles were offered music teaching positions at Union Springs Academy in New York State. She again taught choir, voice, handbells, music appreciation, and some of the piano lessons as well as serving several years as the registrar during their fourteen years at USA. She traveled extensively with her select choir, including tours to New York City and Washington, D.C.
During most of her life, Zacharias has also worked in various churches on Sundays, serving as organist and/or choir director. From 1994 to 1996 she and her husband lived in Portland, Oregon, where she served as music director/organist at a Lutheran church in Vancouver, Washington, and taught piano lessons privately.
In 1996, when Charles accepted a music position at Georgia-Cumberland Academy, Jeri took a job teaching piano and voice at the Creative Arts Guild in nearby Dalton, Georgia, and set up a private studio in her home, where she continues to teach. She also serves as music director at a Methodist church and is one of the organists at the academy church.
Sources: Information provided by Jeri Zacharias, 2008; personal knowledge.