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The Student News Site of McCallum High School

The Shield Online

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Hendrickse takes talents to south of France

Studying viola with her teacher’s teacher deepens sophomore’s lifelong love of music, expands horizons
Nhaila Hendrickse
Sophomore Imogen Hendrickse preforms with a viola ensemble from her course she was taking in the South of France

Sitting down at the piano at 4 years old, mesmerized by the realization that she could make her own music, sophomore Imogen Hendrickse realized music was going to be a big part of her life. 

Her mom realized that too and sat down with her and taught little Hendrickse to play “Ode to Joy.” At the same time, Hendrickse’s older sister, Cosette, started learning to play the violin. Sitting on the couch next to her older sister, Hendrickse was awestruck. So she asked her mom if she could start taking lessons.

I felt really accomplished in all my work and practice and extremely grateful to my mom for always supporting me in this passion.

— sophomore Imogen Hendrickse

Fast forward to this August when Hendrickse spent the second week of school studying and becoming more connected to the viola in the south of France.

Music has always played a significant role in her life but being surrounded by it for a full week made her fall in love with it. 

So a few months ago, when she got the opportunity to play in front of her old teacher’s teacher, Pierre-Henri Xuereb, in a masterclass, there wasn’t a doubt in her mind that she wasn’t going to take the chance. 

For her masterclass song, Hendrickse chose a piece from an Italian opera called Nina, that she’d been polishing for two weeks, to play on the violin. 

“It’s really quite a lovely piece and rather melancholic,” Hendrickse said. “This particular scene involves a man who is dreading the loss of his beloved Nina and desperately wants her back. It’s meant to convey the heartbreak he is feeling; therefore, Nina was a slower piece and an easier one that really forced me to focus on my intonation and the style of play.”

[Imogen] has all the talent in the world and I know she has big goals for her future and I’d love to see her accomplish those

— orchestra teacher Erika Elder

After the masterclass, Hendrickse got  feedback on her piece from Xuereb. He asked Hendrickse to play an additional piece and had her try some different styles. Then, Xuereb offered Hendrickse a scholarship for the viola to study with him in France.

“After we finished the master class, he offered my sister and I a full scholarship to study there with him for a week,” Hendrickse said. “I felt really accomplished in all my work and practice and extremely grateful to my mom for always supporting me in this passion.”

While the viola isn’t Hendrickse’s main instrument, the viola and violin are similar in size and technique. This camp would allow Hendrickse to learn more about the viola and what sounds it can produce.

Because the school calendar in France and the U.S. are different, Hendrickse had to miss a week of school while taking the course.

Imogen Hendrickse practices the pieces she learned in between class (Nhaila Hendrickse)

“I emailed all my teachers and explained to them the situation,” Hendrickse said. “They were all so sweet and supportive of me on this endeavor, so that helped a lot.”

Hendrickse’s day-to-day schedule fully revolved around studying music. She would wake up, start with a lesson in the morning, go back to her room to practice what she learned, go to a chamber group rehearsal, eat lunch, go to another rehearsal, cook her dinner, and then head to the teacher’s concert to watch professionals play solo music and chamber music.

“I learned a lot about what music is like in Europe, and France especially,” Hendrickse said. “The people there and the teachers were incredible. And of course, the scenery in the South of France was just gorgeous.”

Hendrickse’s orchestra teacher at McCallum, Erika Elder, has watched Hendrickse work every day to improve as a violinist, so seeing Hendrickse get the chance to study abroad was well deserved. 

“We don’t have many students go abroad to study, so I thought it was really neat that she had the opportunities and connections to do that,” Elder said. “She’s very dedicated, she’s very talented, she’s committed to her instrument, and she works really hard for everything that she has and it shows.”

Imogen is truly such an amazing person and musician

— senior concert master Georgia Halverson

Looking to the future, Elder thinks that Hendrickse has what it takes to achieve at high levels.

“I really just want to see her become the best violinist she can,” Elder said. “She has all the talent in the world. I know she has big goals for her future, and I’d love to see her accomplish those.

In addition to studying abroad, McCallum also offers a variety of competitions which will let Hendrickse gain more knowledge and experiences.

“She will get a lot of opportunities here at McCallum with all-region, all-state orchestra auditions, and solo and ensemble competitions,” Elder said. “There are a lot of competitions that she participates in and does very well in, and I think she learns a lot from those as well. And of course, from studying abroad, she’ll get perspectives from other teachers, and I think she’ll probably go on and do more of that both here in the U.S. and maybe abroad again, too.”

Senior concert master Georgia Halverson, who plays in the same quartet as Hendrickse, has also seen how Hendrickse has contributed to the McCallum orchestra program. 

All in all, I think I improved as a musician and learned a whole new perspective on how music brings us together

— sophomore Imogen Hendrickse

“Imogen is truly such an amazing person and musician,” Halverson said. “She’s such a talented second violinist because she offers such a vast range of different sounds which adds to the overall orchestra.”

Halverson hopes that Hendrickse’s opportunity to study abroad will bring some new knowledge to the orchestra and quartet and motivate others to become better musicians.

“All in all, I think I improved as a musician and learned a whole new perspective on how music brings us together,” Hendrickse said. “I just feel truly grateful that I got to be a part of this incredible, lucky opportunity and that the dominoes fell in all the right placed to eventually lead me to such an experience.” 

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  • W

    william A HendrickseSep 26, 2023 at 12:35 pm

    Great story ? lovely reporting ?

  • J

    Julia CopasSep 26, 2023 at 9:46 am

    Go Immie!!! Also awesome reporting Maya :):)