Notes of Excellence: Music Instructor Inspires Teens for Over 20 Years 

Daniel Henry, Grammy Award winner, baritone performer, and After School Matters instructor, has inspired thousands of Chicago teens to pursue a career in the performing arts for over 20 years. Without his ASM HHW Vocal Touring Ensemble program, many of his teens wouldn’t have access to the mentorship, resources, and opportunities his program provides.  

“We have students from all over the city,” shared Mr. Henry. “And when they come together from different backgrounds, different neighborhoods, there’s a natural, organic synergy that happens. They get excited about the arts and the possibilities for their futures they didn’t think were attainable.” 

With a career that includes performing with both the Chicago and Atlanta Symphony Orchestras, as well as at England’s Gateshead Amphitheater and the Edinburgh Festival, Mr. Henry shares his wealth of musical knowledge with his students, nurturing their talents and aspirations. 

Mr. Henry started the program in collaboration with his co-instructors, Jean Hendricks and Brian Weddington, in the fall of 2000. Participants in the program learn the basics of singing and music theory, about various careers in the performing arts, and life skills they can apply to any job they choose. Alumni have ended up in a variety of professions, from singing to surgery.  

“I often say, ‘Do what you want to do. I’m not trying to make you an opera singer,'” said Mr. Henry. “Just make sure whatever you do, do it well.” 

Mr. Henry’s profound influence resonates across Chicago, enriching the lives of countless young people. Through his dedication and investment in teens, he empowers generations to pursue their dreams in the arts and in life.  

 “I love Mr. Henry!” shared Sierra S, ASM teen. “He’s funny, wise, and shares all his years of knowledge with us.” 

CBS2 Chicago recently featured Mr. Henry and his story. You can watch the full interview below.