By Emily Williams
After graduating from the Altamont School in 2005, Elias Hendricks wanted a career in something musically theatrical, whether that be opera, musical theater or something else.
On Feb. 15, while back home in Birmingham, Hendricks visited his alma mater having made that dream come true. Hendricks gave students a glimpse of his theatrical success by playing a few songs and handing out some words of wisdom to inspire students.
“I never thought when I was an eighth-grader that I would grow up to be a singer,” Hendricks said.
During his time at Altamont, Hendricks did a little bit of everything. He was one of the school’s star soccer players, he dabbled in basketball, and he was a member of the orchestra and the choir.
When his visions of a soccer career began to succumb to reality, Hendricks explored his passion for music at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.
Since graduating, Hendricks has made a career for himself, the highlights of which include the title role of Simba in Disney’s “The Lion King,” touring Europe with his one-man soul show “Aint Too Proud to Beg,” and, most recently, as the lead singer of The Temptations in “Motown: the Musical” shown on London’s West End.
In 2016, Vox Fortura, the classical crossover musical group of which he is a member, made it to the semi-finals on the show “Britain’s Got Talent.”
Hendricks told the students they should take advantage of the diversity the school offers.
“One of the best, most important things that this school has to offer is diversity,” Hendricks said.
At Altamont, Hendricks said, he was exposed to a world of diversity both culturally and academically. He attributes his ability to acclimate with ease to any environment his career takes him to the lessons he learned simply attending school with a diverse group of peers.
“Don’t take for granted the opportunities you have in this school,” Hendricks told students. “A diverse curriculum is a privilege.”
Hendricks showcased his own diverse talents by performing songs of several genres, including “Bring Him Home,” from “Les Miserables;” “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” from “The Lion King;” “You Raise Me Up,” by Josh Groban; and “Can I Close a Door on Love,” from “Motown: the Musical.”
Hendricks shared his professional expertise with two students, giving them instruction as they performed songs they had selected and advice on how to approach auditions. Before sending the students back to class, Hendricks finished with a performance of “Sandcastles,” by Beyonce.