In this year of change and upheaval in all areas of life, the 2021 Magic Penny committee chose to focus on identifying an award recipient engaged in the work of community empowerment that has made a significant difference in the lives of children. We are excited and proud to announce the 2021 Magic Penny will be presented to Daniel J. Henry Jr. and Jean N. Hendricks for their work and commitment over 20 years as founders of the Henry Hendricks Weddington School for the Performing Arts based in Chicago.
The goal and mission of the school is to give under-served youth the opportunity to appreciate the performing arts, and to develop life skills that will make them better citizens and creative beings by participating in music, dance and theater. HHW teaches teens and young adults, ages 14 through 24, the joy of performing on stage and opening them to the option of considering the performing arts as a career.
The method of teaching at HHW is crucial. At its core is the belief that one can change lives with the arts. HHW uses the Arts as an inspirational catalyst to inspire, motivate and teach youth to live their story despite the hardships, struggles or circumstances they may encounter. The journey to achieving their life’s destiny and their passions are difficult. HHW instructors use music to show that they can move through their struggles.
As founders, both Jean Hendricks and Daniel J. Henry, Jr brought their unique strengths to the task of establishing and growing HHW into a thriving school for young people in Chicago. Daniel draws on his time spent singing with full orchestras during his early 20’s developing the skill of music coordination between conductor, orchestra and singer. Jean cites her time performing live across the United States with a Rhythm and Blues Band that gave her the ability to read her audience and create an exciting experience for each stage performance. It also provided a network of professional musicians, producers, agents, composers, and lyricists whom she could share with student protégés. She invited some of these music professionals to her classroom for Masterclasses when she began teaching, which was a thrill for her students.
Read more about the Magic Penny Award.