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Maria Hinnendael Brings Her Love of Music Back to NDA

Jeffrey Hinnendael

“I cherished my experiences in NDA music,” shared Mrs. Maria Hinnendael, new choir teacher and 2014 alum. 

A Green Bay native, Hinnendael studied vocal performance and communication at St. Norbert College and earned her masters degree of music in choral conducting with a vocal specialty at UW-Madison. 

As a student at NDA, Hinnendael was very involved in music–participating in choir, music ministry, musicals and band–but her love of music goes even farther back than that.

“I knew I wanted to be a choral director back in middle school when I had an ‘epiphany’ while singing in a church choir,” she said. “The choir was singing beautiful harmonies a capella, and I was hit with a rush of emotion, and I knew I wanted to be surrounded by those beautiful sounds for the rest of my life.”

She called returning to her high school as a teacher “pretty surreal,” especially since she is now working alongside many of the people that taught her.

“It’s incredible to know that the people that have helped me grow as an academic, musician, and person are my new colleagues, and will continue to be a part of my life in a new way,” shared Hinnendael. 

She is very passionate about music and says it “always has something to teach us.”

“The experience of singing in a choir is unlike any other,” she said. “The awareness of the other voices and the contribution of your own individual voice to the collective sound is proven to increase happiness and foster a sense of community.”

As a teacher, Hinnendael plans to build this sense of community in her students and make her classroom a welcoming place.

“I want to provide students with a place to belong, where they are welcome, heard and accepted,” she shared. “I hope that all students will benefit from the built-in community that choral singing provides.” 

She added that the experience of singing together as an ensemble with an emphasis on  accountability “does wonders for personal growth.”

Hinnendael says her job is to prepare students for anything musical they choose to do in life, as well as foster a love for and knowledge of music that will serve them for the rest of their lives.

Outside of her music, Hinnendael loves spending time out in nature, cooking and gardening.

“My husband and I love to kayak, travel and camp–in a camper–no sleeping on the ground for this one,” she said. “I get my love of cooking from my dad, who is a retired professional chef and my love of gardening from my mom, who is a master gardener. My favorite is being accompanied in the garden by my fluffy gardening friend, my cat Nala.”

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Cassi Garrison
Cassi Garrison, Staff Writer
Cassi Garrison is a junior excited to enter her third year of writing for the Tritonian. She is very interested in current events, particularly social and environmental issues. Outside of journalism, she enjoys playing pickleball, participating in the school band, and spending time with family.

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