David Henderson Reflects on 20 Years at EHS

Will Schwinghammer, head staff writer

The end of the school year is fast approaching, and with it, a number of important milestones. The end of Principal Andy Beaton’s first year here. The end of the first year with freshmen in the building. The end of our first year in the newly remodeled space. For choir teacher David Henderson, it marks the end of his time here at Edina High School. Henderson has been in teaching since 1981. He’s occupied his current position at EHS since the fall of 1998. Before that, he held several short-term positions at EHS and taught private music lessons. His main inspiration was his desire to share music, but that’s far from his only interest.

I’m actually not retiring, I’m just changing jobs.

Over his 20 years at EHS, a lot of things have changed. Technological advancements have been the most dramatic changes. “I hate cell phones,” Henderson said. Not only do they serve as a distraction in his class, but they also spread misinformation. “While access to information is good, it’s bad because of people not knowing the difference between what’s real and not real. Everybody knows that everything on Facebook is true. No, it’s not!” Henderson said.

Even though a lot has changed since he started, some things have certainly stayed the same. “When presenting students with challenging music, they like the challenge and appreciate the success they get by performing the challenging music,” Henderson said. He compared it to reading difficult literature in an English class. “Some of the stuff you have to read for that, maybe you don’t want to [at first] but once you get into it you think ‘Oh, this is really cool,’” Henderson said. Henderson is also fascinated by the poetry in choral music. “It’s mostly poetry set to music. What is the poem about? Why did the composer choose to write music this way in this part of the poem? This is why I think music is so cool,” Henderson said.

Read all about DH, EHS’ retiring choir teacher of 20 years!

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Another consistent part of teaching is his favorite part of the job. Suddenly you hear this person sing with a voice you’ve never heard. They do fine in the choir but suddenly you hear a solo voice that you’ve never heard before. To me, that’s been one of the coolest things,” Henderson said. It’s as much about the voice as the courage it takes to present the voice to Henderson. “When somebody gets the nerve, they get brave enough to put it out there, and sometimes some of those totally surprise you. To me that’s one of the funnest things,” Henderson said. That directly ties in with his plans for the future. “I will be teaching voice lessons out of my school to high school students,” Henderson said. He hopes to experience more of the Current Jam audition moments with his one-on-one work. “I’m actually not retiring, I’m just changing jobs.”

In the future, Henderson, known as “DH” to many around EHS, hopes to continue spreading his love of music with his home lessons. Although he’ll be missed, his contributions to the choir program won’t be forgotten any time soon.