It’s a tough job being smart, talented — and in charge. Which she is.
Especially when serving in the United States Army for 18 years. Army Intelligence, that is.
“My parents were both musicians,” she tells me. “She sang, he played. But I joined the Army.” Which might be one of the smartest things she did.
Bev was to hear some sour notes from Mom about that. But she continued those violin lessons. After all, the Army helped pay for them. That’s talented and smart.
However, 18 years later she also said she thought it intelligent to leave.
This is Bev Hendricks, current editor of ARTIFACTS, the county’s arts magazine, past executive director of the Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra in Orlando, past executive director of the Imperial Symphony Orchestra in Polk County, past summa cum laude graduate of Florida Southern College.
Present retired baseball fanatic.
Being smart had given her a full scholarship at FSC. Being in charge had landed her a part-time job at United Way.
Two kids, part-time pay and full time college and an almost 4.0 average.
After the Army, Bev moved back to Lakeland with her two girls where her mom still lived. She bought a small house, “but when I moved to Orlando for five years at the new Youth Symphony job after graduation at Florida Southern, I allowed the girls to remain in the house.” The catch: “I paid the mortgage but required one pay the electricity, the other the cable and phone.”
Told you before she was smart. And still in charge.
Being that avid baseball fan only adds to the package.
I once saw Bev at a Tampa Bay Rays baseball game. I was there for cheap seats on Senior Day. She was there for free seats on Salute to Service Day (sort of makes us both smart). “Love baseball,” she shouts. And Bev shouts a lot. “I’m not shy speaking my mind.”
Or shouting at the Rays’ opponents at the 22 home games she attends. After all, she believes, cheer and the world cheers with you.
Sometimes for you.
All this may be what got her the job at the county’s Imperial Symphony Orchestra where she increased the budget by 15 percent. Where she secured two grants from the National Endowment of the Arts. Where she served longer than any other executive director.
Polk County once had a group composed of arts representatives named CAB — the Cultural Arts Board — that met monthly. Bev was also secretary for a few centuries where she learned who did what, where … and to whom. “It connected me to the arts.” Understand there are 54 arts organizations in our county.
Fifty-four connections. Smart again.
“I would try to go to a different event every week.” With her mom. We are family.
“We’re really lucky to have that many arts groups,” she trumpets, “and many hugely successful ones at that. Polk Museum, Imperial Symphony, Theatre Winter Haven, Lakeland Community Theatre, Explorations V,” she smiles. “Big cities have what we have.”
Now that’s plain wise.
In the fall of 2011 Bev became editor of ARTIFACTS. Under her stead the magazine grew to printing 10,000 to 12,000 copies five times a year while championing the county’s creative soul. She’s responsible for editing and layout, and getting those 54 organizations to send in their schedules. “That’s the biggest headache,” she claims.
Yeah. Creativity knows no time for spreadsheets.
A ton of them are distributed at the Polk Visitor Center on U.S. 27 as well as any other place a visitor wants to watch a show, attend a concert, hear a song, see a painting, or … well, you get the idea.
In 2015, Bev won The Award of Distinction from Communicator Awards for the mag and deserved it.
“I can recall a woman calling who had moved to Kansas complimenting me on the magazine. She said she didn’t need to know what was happening here anymore. She just wanted me to know how glad she was when she did. And how good the magazine was.”
From a woman with a love of baseball and bassoons that helps make that happen.
Norm Small retired as professor of speech/drama at Polk State College and producing director of Theatre Winter Haven after almost five decades. He is the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from both the Florida Theatre Conference and the American Community Theatre. He also received the Polk Arts Alliance second annual Polk County Artist Hall of Fame Award. He can be reached at TWH1970@aol.com.