Liberty Hill’s new choir teacher giving students a reason to sing
By Rebecca Canfield
From the time she was a child, Davina Hendrix has always had a song to sing.
“I was in band and choir all the way through high school,” Hendrix said. “My voice teacher encouraged me to audition for a scholarship, but I didn’t really want to do it. Then they called and offered me the scholarship … I was just really good at music anyway, and it was really fun. I loved it.”
Hendrix, who has been teaching choir for 19 years, was hired this summer to teach and develop the school district’s new choir program.
For the past 12 years, Hendrix has taught in Pflugerville ISD, but her experience also includes teaching music in Tomball ISD and Georgetown ISD.
Although she hasn’t been on the job long, she said working in Liberty Hill has been a real blessing.
“It’s just where I need to be,” she said.
Hendrix, who graduated from Steven F. Austin State University with a bachelor’s degree in Music Education, said that LHHS Principal Mario Bye has big plans for the music program. One of the things that the high school is talking about, Hendrix said, is offering an advanced placement music theory class.
“I am AP theory certified, so hopefully they will add that class,” Hendrix said. “More high schools are having it, so Liberty Hill needs to get one. With the fine arts endorsement for the state, they really need to have an AP theory class.”
And although Hendrix loves all things music, and absolutely loves teaching, she says that she doesn’t actually like being the center of attention herself. However, Hendrix says that she truly enjoys seeing her own students shine, and says that her real gift is in teaching students how to use their vocal instrument and in teaching them how to love and appreciate music.
“I think all music is good for the soul, even the stuff you may not relate to,” said Hendrix. “There is still a place for it, and there is a season for all music. Sometimes you just have to get invested in it before you can say, ‘Oh, that is really cool!’”
Hendrix, who divides her teaching time between choirs at Liberty Hill High School and Liberty Hill Junior High, doesn’t have much free time. Yet when she isn’t working, Hendrix either spends her time at Fellowship Church or spends it at home with her husband, Jason, and seven-year-old son, Jackson.
Jackson, who likes to sing like his mother, has a penchant for Christmas songs, and Hendrix says that her home is filled with Christmas music year round, although Jackson has taken a brief break from Christmas music to learn the “Ghostbusters” theme song, and “Deep in the Heart of Texas”, which he came home from school singing recently. Her personal favorite music, however, is the music she grew up listening to in the 1980s.
The high school choir’s first performance is at 7 p.m. Oct. 18 at the Liberty Hill Performing Arts Center.
“With music, one of the biggest things is the fact that we can include most everybody,” said Hendrix. “It doesn’t matter what your learning ability is. It doesn’t matter where you’re at musically. In choir, we can get everyone to the same level. We may need to start people in different choirs to get them there, but if everyone comes in with a heart to learn they can get to that place.”
One surprising thing about choir, according to Hendrix, is the fact that choir actually uses all parts of a person’s brain. For example, students can practice kinesthetic learning through working on solfège and hand signs. They have to use their math side with the learning of notes, measures and numbers, and students use their art and English side in learning to be musical and in learning word stress. They work on speech when practicing diction, explained Hendrix.
“We definitely hit all the different areas of the brain and include a lot of other subjects in what we’re teaching,” Hendrix explained. “They also get to work on their self confidence. They learn to step outside the box. It’s a real confidence builder.”
Hendrix also says that unlike other extra-curricular activities, choir can easily mesh with another extra-curricular activity, since it doesn’t require the same amount of time commitment before or after school as other activities do. This means that a student can be in football, soccer or band, and still be a member of the choir, which students seem to love. Hendrix also says choir is more than just a sing-a-long, the kids are getting a strong musical foundation. Furthermore, Hendrix said they are actually very good performers.
Hendrix has plans for her choirs to attend UIL competitions this year.
“The kids are working so hard and they are so talented. Also their parents are being so supportive. It’s been an amazing start. You can’t ask for anything more,” said Hendrix. “I’ve already heard from some parents saying that they can already see the difference in their students. They are getting so much more confident, and it has really been great.”
One of the ways that the community can support the choir is by taking part in the upcoming poinsettia sale the choir is having to raise money for the program.
Beginning this week, the LHHS Choir will be pre-ordering poinsettias from the Niederwald Nursery in Buda. Plants will be delivered to the school on Dec. 1. The poinsettias, which Hendrix says are beautiful and make amazing Christmas gifts, will cost $13 each and can be ordered by email or by contacting a choir student.
To order poinsettias, send email to email@example.com.