Office Hours

Professors don’t always spend their time outside of class in an office crammed with a desk and bookshelves. For nearly 40 years, Ben Hawkins has put in many hours here on the stage of Transylvania’s Haggin Auditorium. It’s where he conducts shows like the annual Gift of Holiday Music concert, a longtime tradition collecting donations for God’s Pantry Food Bank. Check out this year’s performance from Dec. 8.

Music professor Hawkins, who plans to retire at the end of the school year, directs Transylvania’s instrumental ensembles and leads the Central Kentucky Concert Band, which also performed a winter show in Haggin earlier this month.

As you look back at over almost four decades at Transy, what are some of the highlights of your time here?

The concert band’s tour to Australia in 2002 is definitely a great memory. Rather than specific events, though, there are many great memories of people who I have taught and worked with. We’ve had some amazing faculty and staff here over the years.

Are there any accomplishments from your career at Transy that you’re particularly proud of?

Sustaining an instrumental ensemble program composed of students from every major on campus, people who found music to be so important to their lives that they continued to pursue it although it was not directly related to their career goals. And, of course, the small number of really superb professional music educators who were educated here.

Can you describe a specific moment in your teaching career when you really saw you were having an impact on one of your students?

Not any single moment, but many single moments when I knew they had come to understand the value of following through on the commitment they had made to the community (ensemble) in choosing to be a part of it. It sometimes takes quite a while.

What is your favorite thing about teaching students?

I generally teach the same students throughout their college careers, so it would have to be watching them grow into responsible adults.

Do you have a favorite memory or story from your time here that you’d like to share?

Having the opportunity to teach my own sons Jay ’13 and Turner ’17 throughout their Transy years.

What are your plans for the future?

I plan to expand my pollinator gardening, read a lot, go to the YMCA more regularly and spend time watching our new granddaughter grow up. Cyndee and I have some travel plans that we are looking forward to. And I got my horn reconditioned and have been practicing regularly. I plan to join some local performing groups.

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Group Jazzes Up Music Program

Pathways to Success