CU Music Faculty Member Retires From “The Stephen Foster Story” After 40 Years

Artikel 04.09.2014 17:15

This is a newspaper article about the retirement of Dr. Hedrick after 40 years with the outdoor musical drama "The Stephen Foster Story." The musical drama is a long running production based on the life and music of America's first composer to make a living writing music. Dr. Hedrick retired when he was the musical director of the production.

CU Music Faculty Member Retires From “The Stephen Foster Story” After 40 Years

  “Neither heat nor rain nor tree frogs and crickets stays these singers from the swift completion of their nightly performance.”  This paraphrase of the famous post office creed is an apt description of the nightly ritual in mounting “The Stephen Foster Story” performed during the summer nights at the J. Dan Talbot Amphitheater located on the grounds of My Old Kentucky Home State Park, located in Bardstown, KY. This has been the routine of Dr. David Hedrick, assistant professor of music at Campbellsville University School of Music. Hedrick has been with the show forty seasons, serving most recently as the musical director.  He is retiring from the show to spend his summers traveling, composing and arranging music, and working in the yard of his historic home in Campbellsville.

During most of those years, Hedrick’s regular job was that of public school choral director.  He retired from public school education after 28 years of service and has been on the CU school of music faculty for 8 years.  He has been a church musician over 35 years and is still involved when called on to substitute for other church musicians.  He has been in musical theater for more than 45 years and continues to give recitals, workshops, and serves frequently as adjudicator for vocal music festivals for KMEA (Kentucky Music Educators Association).  At CU he teaches graduate and undergraduate applied voice, concert chorus, the CU Handbell Choir, and choral arranging.

Dr. David Hedrick, Assistant Professor of Music at CU 

Hedrick began his career in “Foster” as a member of the male quartet that later became known as Stephen Foster’s cronies.  He has been onstage in various roles, including “Dudley Morton” who is the other love interest in “Jeanie’s” life.  Other roles include Henry Kleber, Stephen’s music teacher; Mr. Igoe, Pittsburgh businessman and Foster’s employer; Dunning Foster , Stephen’s brother; and for the past several seasons he has portrayed William B. Foster, Stephen Foster’s father.  He retires from the production as musical director.

During a recent interview Hedrick had several interesting comments about his long career with the show.  “After I had been with the show for several seasons and felt my position was secure, I found myself looking forward to each new season.  Then, all at once, forty seasons had gone by.”

“When I got to be a ‘senior’ cast member, I played the role of Stephen’s father,” Hedrick said.  “At first, I had to gray my hair a bit to appear older and look the part, but later on I had enough gray hair of my own  that I didn’t have to do that anymore”

  During most of those forty seasons, Hedrick served as assistant conductor and assistant organist and had the opportunity to conduct the two overtures on several occasions and to accompany some performances.  He was the assistant organist on one of the production’s tour to Japan. 


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