Student Spotlight – Calvin Hitchcock: Composer

student_spotlightMusic has the ability to bring a story or a concept to life, and that is what sophomore composition major Calvin Hitchcock said he seeks to do in his work.

“I work conceptually, so I really like to have an idea of either a story or concept behind what I am doing,” Hitchcock said.

Calvin’s advisor and piano teacher, Charles Clevenger, said one of the more prominent characteristics of Hitchcock’s work is the emotion.

“Calvin crafts his ideas, and it shows up in the shapes of his melodies. He crafts his ideas for their emotional content. That is what makes him really good,” Clevenger said. “If I say to Calvin, ‘Take this thing up that curve, hit that important note, and then say goodbye,’ that will show up in his music.”

Clevenger also said that when Hitchcock plays, the music he makes sounds like it could almost have words.

Hitchcock is skilled at playing and composing music for the piano, which he said his parents realized when he was young.

“I started by taking piano lessons when I was six,” Hitchcock said. “My parents waited until I showed an interest in the instrument. I would go to the piano that we had sitting in the house and (I) just played around on it, and they were like, ‘It’s time to get this kid lessons.’”

Hitchcock said that when he turned 12, he knew that piano was the instrument he wanted to play.

“When I was 12, I had a breakthrough with the piano, and I realized that I really loved playing and making music,” he said. “It was around that time that I started to compose as well. I had written my own little ditties once in a while, but it didn’t really take off until I was 12.”

Hitchcock said he likes to pair his love of music with his love of theatre. He has written music for a number of different productions, with one of his more recent works being featured in the spring theatre production of “Doubt: A Parable.”

“With ‘Doubt,’ I read through the script several times, I watched the movie and just started writing ideas that came into my head,” Hitchcock said. “Every once and a while, a word would jump out, like ‘disorientation,’ or ‘uncertainty,’ but it wasn’t until I watched an interview with the author and he was talking about how uncertainty gives us the ability to live in the moment that I could have something I could latch onto.”

The score was written for one clarinet part, performed by senior Simon Yeh.

“At first, it seemed very daunting because it was new, but it grew and as the music fit into the play, I saw it work really well,” Yeh said.

The two are working to compose music for Cedarville’s spring 2016 play, “Wit.”

Yeh said he and Hitchcock have been friends and collaborators for two years, and he said they work together well as a team.

“I might add something and he says, ‘Yeah, OK, that’s cool,’ and since we’re so close, I can ask him, ‘Hey, how about this?’ or ‘How about that?’ and then he might change it, he might not,” Yeh said. “But it’s a fluid process.”

Yeh also said their musical collaboration is very smooth since they know each other so well.

“He normally brings everything to the table and makes it easy for me to play,” Yeh said. “He’s tried to work with some other people, and it just hasn’t been as successful because they don’t know him as much as a person, so I know what he is going for.”

Clevenger said, given Hitchcock’s skills, he gave Hitchcock advice on what to do with his life.

“The counsel I gave him was this: pick the thing that you would do for no pay,” Clevenger said. “That’s probably God’s calling on your life, the thing that will not leave you alone. What is it? And he (Calvin) looked at me and said it was composition.”

Hitchcock is a talented man that excels in many different areas, Clevenger said.

“He’s good at half a dozen things,” Clevenger said. “He could have majored in any one of them, and his greatest challenge has been what to let go, what to prune away so you can get the best two or three things. You want to be everything, and you want to be great at everything. I love the remark Margaret Wheeler made (in chapel) as she was retiring saying you can’t be great at everything, you have to let somebody else be great at that.”

Yeh said Hitchcock has great potential.

“If he keeps going in the direction he is,” Yeh said. “I think he has a lot of potential to make some noise.”

Hitchcock has a SoundCloud account that has a variety of different music he has produced over the years.

Listen to his music at

Conner Ghiz is a sophomore professional writing and information design major and arts and entertainment writer for Cedars. He loves listening to music and going to Roosters Wings.

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