Michael Hendrick’s voice has taken him to many places on his journey through life. He has appeared in venues throughout Europe, South America and the U.S., accompanying some of the greatest opera companies, orchestras, conductors and stage directors in the world along the way.
This Friday, May 30, Hendrick’s journey comes full circle, as his voice fills the corners of the place where it all started – Ford Auditorium, on the campus of Berry College, his alma mater. His 8 p.m. recital headlines Alumni Weekend 2008, an annual event tailored specifically for those who call Berry “home.” However, this year’s festivities take on added significance as the kickoff for the Berry Alumni Association’s centennial celebration.
“I was particularly interested in making the concert a bit more personal to the alumni,” Hendrick said. “While the concert is obviously about ‘me,’ this Alumni Weekend is about something much more, something with depth, to be cherished and remembered by everyone. It is about ‘us,’ the alumni, and our common identity to Berry, and our great founder who started it all.”
This is just the latest stop in Hendrick’s 11 years as a full-time performing tenor. During that time, he has performed works in more than 10 languages across the globe and appeared with groups such as the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. He has won acclaim by many critics, among them columnist Anthony Tommasini of The New York Times, who praised Hendrick’s debut performance at New York’s famed Metropolitan Opera House in 2007.
Despite these accolades, Hendrick can still trace his beginnings to a place far up in the hills of Northwest Georgia.
“Berry provided a place of safety during a time of great personal exploration and transformative growth for me,” said the LaGrange, Ga., native.
Arriving on campus in fall 1984 as a charter participant in S. Truett Cathy’s WinShape Program, Hendrick found within himself a deeper personal confidence during his years at Berry that carried him forward into many different environments after graduation. A would-be trumpet major who later shifted his focus to voice, Hendrick studied under lecturer of music Harry Musselwhite, a longtime faculty member who remains a friend and advisor to this day.
Hendrick admits that the vigorous schedule of performing on some of the world’s largest stages can be demanding at times as last minute invitations are a common occurrence. He recently returned from a six-week stint in South America performing at the Teatro Amazonas in Manaus, Brazil. Within a week of returning home to Baton Rouge, La., where he lives with wife Nancy and son George, Hendrick was asked to travel to Rio de Janeiro and perform again with rehearsal starting June 16.
“Life is never simple with my family,” he said. “I have learned through my own mistakes that if you spend all your time trying to make everyone happy, you end up not making anyone happy, especially those who mean the most to you. I cannot say I am always successful. It is a very rewarding, though challenging, life.”
From the stages of Berry College to venues around the world, Hendrick carries on a tradition of accomplished and distinguished Berry alumni. You can read more about his amazing career at www.michaelhendrick.com. To learn more about Alumni Weekend go towww.berry.edu/alumni. If you are interested in attending his recital, please call 800-782-1030 or 706-236-2256 to make a reservation.
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