Bernard Hendricks, Jr.

A Special Award of

The John Philip Sousa Foundation

Bernard Hendricks, Jr. is the band director at Ocoee High School in Ocoee, Florida. His teaching career spans over 26 years. From 1997-2005, he was the band director at Robinswood Middle School (Orlando/Orange County, Florida). Bernard received his Bachelor of Science in Music Education from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University.

In 2000, Bernard was voted Teacher of the Year at Robinswood Middle School, and in 2007 and 2017 he recived the same award at Ocoee High School. Also in 2017, he was a finalist for the Orange County Teacher of the Year. In 2007, he was on the School Band & Orchestra Magazine list of 50 Most Influential Directors. Along with his wife, Sha, he was Volunteer of the Year 2017 at Orlando World Outreach Church.

Mr. Hendricks is an active member of the Florida Bandmasters Association, serving as District Officer (Secretary/Treasurer) from 2007-2015, and President from 2022-2024. He also serves for the Florida Music Education Association, as an Executive Board Member and Multicultural Network Committee Chair from 2010 to 2018.

The Ocoee HS WInd Ensemble receives consistent Superior Ratings at District Music Performance Assessment and Superior and Excellent ratings at State Music Performance Assessment. The Ocoee Jazz Big Band also receives consistent Superior ratings at District and State Music Performance Assessments. His Jazz Band has performed with Scotty Barnhart and Wycliffe Gordon over the years as well as premiering music for Composer Michele Fernandez. The Ocoee Marching Band receives consistent Superior ratings at District Music Performance Assessment. Also, the Marching Band participated in Liberty Bowl Music Festival, National Memorial Day Parade in Washington D.C., Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade and will participate in the 2024 Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

The Bandworld Legion of Honor was established in 1989 to honor, over the course of a year, eight of the finest band directors in our business.

Recipients have taught for at least fifteen years, have maintained a very high-quality concert band program, and have contributed significantly to the profession through dedication to bands and band music.

Each is honored at the annual Sousa Foundation awards ceremony during the Midwest Band Clinic in Chicago, Illinois.

Chairman of the Legion of Honor Committee is Terry Austin, Virginia Commonwealth University.

When asked what factors do you consider most important in shaping your career, Bernard states, “The most important factors that have shaped my career are the relationships that I’ve beed able to build over my nearly 27 years as a musid educator. Meaningful relationships with adults and colleagues have been quite phenomenal. I’ve been able to learn a lot from a lot of other people as well as mentor many teachers through the teaching experience. But more importantly are the relationships that I forged with the students I’ve taught. I honestly believe that a good portion of the success we experience as a band program, is because the students believe and TRUST that what I’m asking them to do will make them better musicians and better people in the long run. When young people know that you are looking out for their Best Interests, they will pretty much go all out for you and the program. Building these quality relationships has lead to successful band programs at both the middle school and the high school levels. AND to add to the strength of these relationships, I’ve had the pleasure of serving as the Officiant for the marriages of multiple former students.”

His professional philosophy statement is, “My philosophy of music education is quite simple; I believe that ANY student can achieve greatness if properly motivated, instructed and cared for. Three simple, yet complex concepts, that are all achieveable if the educator is willing to build positive, appropriate relationships with students, as well as the school community. These relationships allow for the educator to effectively lead and guide the students to achieve goals that are within or exceeding the realm of possibility and reality. A quality, comprehensive music education program has the ability to change and save lives. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing this happen time and time again throughout my career and I’m Blessed and honored to serve my students and community in this manner.”