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An Odyssey in Four Parts

Hendrix String Quartet

CONWAY, Ark. (June 24, 2013) – Four Hendrix students take their passion for music beyond the classroom.

After working together on an Odyssey project entitled “Exploring Haydn” in fall 2012, juniors Gary DeClerk, Charley Ford, Kristen O’Connell and Kenna Tuggle, members of the Hendrix College Chamber Orchestra, decided to remain together as the Hendrix String Quartet.

String quartets are typically composed of two violinists, a violist, and a cellist.

DeClerk, a double major in mathematics and music from Jacksonville, Ark. plays the cello.

Ford, a politics major from Calgary, Canada, plays the violin.

O’Connell, a biochemistry molecular biology major from Jacksonville, Ark., plays the viola.

Tuggle, an English major with an emphasis in creative writing from Boulder, Colo. plays the violin.

“Playing with the Hendrix String Quartet has been one of the highlights of my college career thus far,” said Tuggle.

The music department at Hendrix frequently has student chamber music groups but their makeup tends to vary from term to term based on student interest, said Hendrix music professor Dr. Karen Griebling.

Griebling joined the music faculty in 1987 and founded the Hendrix College Chamber Orchestra in 1990. She has been a performing member of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra for more than 25 years and currently performs with the Cross Town Trio, which has been together since 1999. 

In November 2012, Griebling brought the Rockefeller String Quartet of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra to campus as the College’s inaugural quartet in residence. The new residence program began in January 2012.

For their Odyssey project, the future Hendrix String Quartet members were mentored by the Rockefeller String Quartet and Griebling. The project gave them the opportunity to learn about professionalism, perform music, and obtain a valuable and practical experience in arts management. Students learned the business side of being a professional musical group – writing contracts, negotiating bookings, arranging music for clients’ special requests, promoting themselves, and learning the appropriate repertoire for performances, including double string quartet performance with the Rockefeller Quartet of Felix Mendelssohn’s Octet last April.

The Hendrix String Quartet has played at weddings, receptions, and other events this summer and is available for booking. For more information, contact Ford at

The Hendrix string quartet plans to remain together until their graduation in spring 2015.

Ford, who has been playing the violin for 15 years, enjoys playing chamber music for vital role each individual plays.

“I’m quite positive that I will play violin for the rest of my life. It has always been and will always be my greatest passion.”

Founded in 1876, Hendrix College is a national leader in engaged liberal arts and sciences education. For the fifth consecutive year, Hendrix was named one of the country’s “Up and Coming” liberal arts colleges by U.S. News and World Report. Hendrix is featured in the 2012 edition of the Princeton Review as one of the country’s best 377 colleges, the latest edition of Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think about Colleges, Forbes magazine's annual list of America's Top 650 Colleges, and the 2013 edition of the Fiske Guide to Colleges. Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. For more information, visit