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Get to Know Kendel Hickenbottom, Director of Instrumental Music

Director of Instrumental Music Kendel Hickenbottom has taken the SBS band program to the next level, challenging his students to think critically, live biblically and lead courageously through music.
Kendel Hickenbottom joined the #SBSfamily and SBS Arts Department in 2019. Under his direction, the Second Baptist School band has grown significantly--in more ways than just numbers!

According to Mr. H (as his students affectionately call him), “I have already seen a difference between this year and last year. The band is growing in numbers, and these students are already playing at a much higher level.” He went on to say, “Last year was the second time in the school’s history for our students to make the All-Region Honor Band. Two upper school students made this and both advanced to area level auditions. This year, four auditioned, made the All-Region Honor Band and all four moved onto the area level auditions. We had two students come very close to making the All-State Honor Band--only missing it by three spots.” Mr. H further explained the high level of talent expected at these auditions, “The All-Region Honor Band is made up of all public schools, some private schools and a few home school students. This is not just a private school audition!” In addition, two middle school students made this honor band last year and this year eight made it--all of them in the upper chairs.

When asked how he integrates the SBS mission in the classroom, on the field, court and stage, Mr. H said, “I encourage my students to think critically and lead courageously through their music. It takes a great deal of skill and effort to process music. There are so many things that have to happen at once while performing. I push my students to learn more intricate music than they ever have before. Living biblically is something we often talk about in class. These students are amazing because they all have an attitude of wanting to be their best. We take time to discuss important topics, so that when they leave SBS, they will know more about the word of God and how to live and interact as God wants us to.”

According to Honors Band student Kendalyn Firenza ‘23, “Over the past couple of years, band has consistently been a positive and fun environment for me. Not only is Mr. H an amazing teacher, but the culture is welcoming and the students in band are both kind and funny. Honors Band is definitely a class that I look forward to each day.”

Mr. H lives out the school’s mission in his own life. He and his wife serve elementary age students at church and have six children, four of them adopted. They are passionate about adoption and see it as an opportunity to bring others to know Christ. According to Mr. H, “There is nothing sweeter than a two year old saying a prayer!” He has also started a Masters of Divinity in Theology Degree where he plans to learn and grow in God’s word for himself and his family.

“I can say that Second Baptist School is really an amazing place to be. I have been teaching for 30 years and in 9 schools across the state of Texas. SBS is by far the best place to be--a place where being a Christian is more than just words. I am grateful for the opportunity to teach here where I can help others grow and grow personally as well.”

TMEA Area Results
Eunjin (Lucas) Lim ‘22 - 9th on Clarinet
Kendalyn Firenza ‘23 - 16th on Percussion
Ryan Gamble ‘22 - 4th on Bass
Dominic Cestero ‘23 - 7th on Trumpet

We are proud of our SBS band students for their high rankings in the area competition!
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