Jackson Christian Senior Ryder Hendryhas never taken a piano lesson. Instead, he developed his musical talent by watching YouTube tutorials and learning to play the piano by ear. In the fall of 2023, Hendry will begin his collegiate career at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass., on a full scholarship where he plans to pursue a career in film scoring.
Even as a child, Hendry showed an appreciation for music. His mother Chantel Barnes often remarks that even as a toddler, Hendry would sing and hum movie soundtracks while playing with his toys. In third grade, Hendry took to the stage for the first time and played Beethoven’s “Fur Elise” for the Jackson Christian elementary talent show. The student body gave him his first standing ovation.
“The affect that music has on people—it helps them access emotions and feelings that they can’t find otherwise,” Hendry said. “That’s why I want to go into composition. I want to create that experience for others and move them the way music moves me.”
In the sixth grade, Hendry joined the Eagles Marching and Concert Band as a percussionist and learned to read music. He continued to study and perform with his bandmates from his sixth-grade year to senior year at Jackson Christian. During his last musical showcase, Hendry performed a piano solo of Claude Debussy’s “Arabesque No. 1,” where he received another standing ovation from the Jackson Christian student body.
“We are tremendously proud of Ryder,” Jackson Christian President Dr. Mark Benton said. “He has a gift given by God, and we are proud to see him use and share his gift with the world.”
Hendry accredits much of his success to the encouragement and direction he received during his tenure at Jackson Christian. From his first music teacher and band director Tracy Smith to his current bandmembers and Director Destiny Hall, Hendry says even the earliest encouragement made all the difference.
“That standing ovation in elementary school – that made me stick with music. I decided I could do it, and I have no regrets. I am excited for what the next chapter brings.”
Hendry accepted a full scholarship to Berklee College of Music, which is known for the success of their alumni having won 310 Grammy awards, more than any other college.