While Leesville’s juniors spent hours trapped in the dungeon that is the ACT, freshmen, sophomores and seniors were treated to a special assembly. The assembly featured Chris Hendricks and his acoustic band.
Chris Hendricks, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of 4, decided to dedicate his life to playing music and inspiring people. He frequently visits different venues to share his music and his story.
“Playing for high schools is a lot harder than performing at a venue,” said Hendricks in a personal interview. “At a venue, people come for the music. At an assembly, the kids are forced into the auditorium. I wanted to give the students a less crappy assembly, with no mascots dressed up, lecturing about safety. I hope that through a concert type assembly, the kids can really take something away.”
The presentation was packed with cliche, yet inspiring quotes, such as the popular: “you only live once,” or the more rare “time is one thing that you will never get back.”
Hendricks said that he tried to be “really direct and honest” in his approach to addressing the audience. He hoped that he could get through to the kids by using his story, rather than a lecture. He also used some classic high school humor to connect to his adolescent audience, evident when he referred to “band geeks” and “emo kids that wear too much make-up and hate their parents.”
He played many inspiring songs that told tales of dealing with disability and overcoming bullying. In his most popular song, “Affliction,” Hendricks poured out the emotional story of his childhood and all the emotional hardships that he faced while dealing with “affliction.”
His performance truly showed that music is his outlet. When asked about his means of finding music, Hendricks explained, “I needed to get over my fear of people– or more the fear of myself and the shame that I felt. I found my escape from that fear through my music.”
While the song “Affliction” evoked a heartfelt reaction from the audience, it hardly compared to his last song “Noise.” The song, used as the theme song for the Carolina Hurricanes, offered an upbeat and exciting end to his meaningful show.
Hendrick’s performance was well received, for he met a standing ovation at the end of the performance.
As a final message to Leesville, Hendricks said, “I hope they realize to be careful who to judge and pick on. You never know the effect you could have on someone, and who you might help someone become.”