Michael Hendrickson ’13 has always been a fan of the stage. In high school he was heavily involved in theater and sang in several choirs, but it was not until he came to Bowdoin that his a cappella career took flight.
Hendrickson is a busy man. A psychology major with a minor in education, he is a member of two a cappella groups—Ursus Verses and the Longfellows.
As a first year, Hendrickson was immediately drawn to a cappella as a creative outlet, but he was not originally planning on singing in two groups.
“I picked the Longfellows first,” he said. “It was a tough decision.”
It wasn’t until the second semester of his first year that he joined Ursus Verses.
“I auditioned kind of on a whim,” said Hendrickson. He’s glad that he did, noting that that the Longfellows and Ursus complement one another nicely. Nevertheless, he does note that he is often pressured by friends to admit favoring one group over the other.
“Really, I couldn’t decide,” said Hendrickson. “They have such a different dynamic; I love both groups.”
When it comes to electing his favorite Bowdoin performance space, however, Hendrickson’s opinion is absolute.
“Definitely the chapel. Your sound is amplified in there—there’s a lot of history there,” he said.
He also acknowledges the “different sound” that both a cappella groups have, praising them for their distinct energy and approach to performing.
“I really love the two groups I’m in because my favorite [songs] are on the extremes,” he said.
Ursus Verses was founded in 2001 and is one of two co-ed groups on campus. The Longfellows, founded in 2004, is an all-male company.
Ursus’ audience favorites include “Time to Pretend” by MGMT and last year’s Disney medley. Favorites from the Longfellows include “Down by the Sally Gardens” and the contemporary Beyoncé hit, “I Was Here.”
Hendrickson enjoys singing the “fun crowd-pleasers” that Ursus unfailingly produces, as well as the “challenging and beautiful” ballads that the Longfellows favor. Singing with both groups is definitely a time commitment; Hendrickson logs an average of two hours a day of a cappella practice. Nevertheless, he has not lost his passion for old amusements.
“I really miss theater, I definitely miss that art, and last year’s chamber choir concert was just beautiful,” he said.
After graduation, Hendrickson intends to continue to participate in musical programs and perhaps make a return to theater as well.
“[The performing arts] are such a great stress release,” said Hendrickson. “It’s something that I really need to keep doing.”
Hendrickson plans to attend graduate school to study mental health counseling. Before this, however, he still has much to do at Bowdoin. With course work and concerts as top priorities, he quipped, “there isn’t time for anything else!”