Southeast Missouri Music Academy to Celebrate 25 Years


Standing Ovation Concert Planned for Oct. 4

Photo of members of the Southeast Brass Quintet to perform at the Southeast Missouri Music Academy's Standing Ovation concert.

Members of the Southeast Brass Quintet to perform at the Southeast Missouri Music Academy’s Standing Ovation concert are, from left,Marc Fulgham, trumpet; Jessie Reuter, French horn; Charles Kelly, tuba; Robert Conger, trombone; and Barry Bernhardt trumpet.


Sept. 23, 2009 – Three generations of the Hendrickson family of Cape Girardeau have been involved with the Southeast Missouri Music Academy for a quarter of a century.

Dr. Karen Hendrickson, RN, first registered her sons, Rhett and Ryan Hendrickson, for music lessons 25 years ago with the Southeast Missouri Music Academy. 

“My three-year-old granddaughter, Madeline, is now enrolled in the Academy’s Suzuki Strings program,” said Karen Hendrickson, who served as a founding member on the Academy’s Community Advisory Board and is Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer with Southeast Missouri Hospital. “We are so excited that Madeline is now our third generation to benefit from the work of the Music Academy.”

Rhett was encouraged by Mel Gilhaus, the orchestra director for Cape Girardeau Public Schools at the time, to enroll in the newly formed Music Academy so he might benefit from private lessons. 

“My instructors were all faculty from the Southeast Department of Music as there were no college students providing private viola lessons at that time,” said Rhett Hendrickson.  “As any musician knows, there are tremendous benefits to be gained from another instructor’s perspective on one’s playing.  I feel that my musicality was greatly improved as a result of my participation in the Academy and helped me excel as a member of the Cape Central Orchestra.  Furthermore, I was invited – as are many high school students – to play with the University Orchestra when I was a sophomore in high school.  Had I not gained confidence as a player and become comfortable with music at the Academy, I would have likely not accepted the invitation and might not have continued to study music and play with the University Orchestra while at Southeast.”

When Rhett and his wife, Jennifer, relocated from St. Louis back to Cape Girardeau, Rhett resumed playing with what is now the Southeast Missouri Symphony Orchestra and now serves on both the Symphony Board and, following in his mother’s footsteps, the Music Academy Community Advisory Board. 

“My hope is that by working with the Music Academy at the board level, I can help continue to provide this great program for aspiring musicians of all ages in our community,” Rhett Hendrickson said.

“Now that I have a daughter of my own, my wife and I are pleased that the Southeast Missouri Music Academy is still providing instructors for young violinists,” said Rhett Hendrickson.  “Madeline began studying Suzuki violin with Laura Ryan this semester.  We hope that Madeline enjoys playing violin as much as I have, and that even if she doesn’t go on to become a virtuoso violinist, that she will have gained, at the very least, a life-long love and appreciation for music.”

The Southeast Missouri Music Academy will be celebrating its 25th year with a special “Standing Ovation” concert and reception on Sunday, Oct. 4.  The concert will be held at 5 p.m. in the Robert F. and Gertrude L. Shuck Music Recital Hall at Southeast Missouri State University’s River Campus.  A “Meet the Artists” reception will follow in the John and Betty Glenn Convocation Center.

Featured performers include Michael Dean, clarinet; Chris Goeke and Lori Shaffer, voice; Patrick Rafferty, guitar; Laura Ross, oboe; Jim Sifferman, piano; Taylor Renfroe, piano; the Suzuki Strings; and the Southeast Brass Quintet.  Matt Yount will entertain on the piano at the reception.

The Academy would especially like to invite any original 1985 Music Academy students who are still in the area to the 25th anniversary event.

For those just attending the “Standing Ovation” concert, tickets are $7.  For those wanting to attend the concert as well as the reception, tickets are $25.  Tickets may be purchased by calling the Academy office at (573) 651-2378.  Tickets for the concert may be purchased at the door as well, but tickets for the reception must be reserved in advance.

The Southeast Missouri Music Academy was founded in 1985 as the Music Preparatory Program.  The non-profit, community-based program serves approximately 250 students from Southeast Missouri, Illinois and Kentucky.  The Academy offers lessons for all band and orchestral instruments, voice, piano, classical guitar, organ and harp.  In addition to traditional private instruction, the Academy offers the popular Suzuki Strings program, musicianship classes, adult piano and guitar classes, and the new “Sing, Say, Move, and Play” class for preschoolers.

The University generously provides support through the use of facilities.  Tuition paid by the students covers teacher salaries, but all other costs must be raised through donations and fundraising events.  “Standing Ovation” provides funding for the need-based scholarship program and student supplies, according to Rebecca Fulgham, director of the Academy.