10th Anniversary Spotlight: Mr. Henriques

In celebration of our 10th anniversary, we will be interviewing teachers and staff who have been with ACA since the founding of our school. This month’s spotlight is Mr. Henriques.

Beautiful music, a love for teaching, and a hilarious sense of humor – blended together is the perfect 10th anniversary spotlight: music and piano teacher Mr. Henriques. We sat down with him to hear about his time at ACA and why sometimes a change in plans can create the perfect recipe for a life’s journey.

Why ACA? What made you join this school, and what has kept you here through the years?

I originally moved to Georgia to pursue my PhD in musicology at UGA. I needed part time work and applied to ACA, thinking that a music program at a public school would demand one or two days of my time at most. In my first interview, Dr. Moore made it clear that this would be a full time position and asked if I would consider putting my degree on hold for a year. I agreed and started working at the school at the end of July 2014. When I saw the curriculum, I was floored. I think it was probably two weeks into the school year when I made the decision to put my degree on hold indefinitely. This place was too special and the mission too important for me to leave it behind that soon. 

What is your funniest memory at ACA?

Oh, I have a book’s worth of stories from ACA that will be a national bestseller and fund my retirement when I finally publish it. Chapter titles include “When colleagues go bald overnight”, “…just what word were you trying to spell?”, and “Yes, I guess Palestrina did look like Adam Levine.”

What has been the most rewarding part of your job?

Watching students master a new skill or develop a new appreciation for a piece of music tops the list. Whether it’s a student learning a piano piece on her own, calling something by its proper name, listening intently to an especially moving passage, or telling me they prefer one performance of a work over another; the smaller the moment, the more rewarding it seems to be. It tells me they’re living with and absorbing the beautiful, rather than studying it perfunctorily. 

What has been your biggest challenge you’ve faced during your time here?

The hardest part of ACA is saying goodbye. We build relationships with these students and invest ourselves in their education, so when they move on to other things, it’s tough. It gets harder with each passing year. 

ACA is celebrating “10 years of service” this year. What is your idea of service?

I once had a teacher tell me that working as a musician would mean I would constantly be fulfilling the oath to “go where I am needed.” That comment resonated with me 20 years ago and still comes to my mind often. 

What words or phrases do you most overuse?

Probably the music teacher’s greatest lie: “Alright, play it one more time.”

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

I honestly have no idea what my greatest is, but I’m always happiest when a student doesn’t need my help anymore. We teachers are constantly working ourselves out of a job.