Keeping Up with Keith!

2020 is changing everyone’s life. Amidst the chaos of this ridiculous year, there are extraordinary moments, both big and small, happening all around us. While surviving COVID-19, some learned to bake bread, some made masks, and others donated funds or volunteered at all kinds of relief organizations. Many people have simply enjoyed spending this strange, extra time with their families.

Or, if you’re Keith Hulen, you take on MORE responsibility during this so-called “break.”

Keith started teaching clarinet at Encore in 2016. Since then, he has taught saxophone and guitar, led chamber ensembles, and continued to direct the Hannah Beardsley Middle School Band. But that just wasn’t enough!

In August of 2020, Keith became the newest addition to the McHenry County Youth Orchestra team as the Intermezzo Orchestra Conductor. Hired just one week before the start of the season, Keith managed to jump into the outdoor rehearsal prep with enthusiasm and confidence. Despite heat waves, rainy nights, strong winds and cold fronts, Intermezzo performed their Fall Concert music successfully, safely, and together.

With Keith’s breadth of musical knowledge, organizational skills, and performance experience, Encore Music Academy is so excited about the future of Intermezzo. We look forward to hearing their holiday selections at MCYO’s December concert!

Fun Facts about Keith

College: Bachelors in Music Education and Masters in Clarinet Performance at Western Illinois University; Masters in Reading Instruction at Aurora University

Favorite food: Pizza!

Celebrity Crush: Really? Julia Roberts.

Hobbies: Cooking, gardening, and everything clarinet.

Favorite place you’ve traveled: Spain


What made you decide to go into music?

K: Ever since attending ISYM band camp at University of Illinois, I knew I wanted to be in music.

If you weren’t a musician, what job would you love to have?

K: Electrician

What advice would you give to someone considering music as a career?

K: Always have a backup plan.

Who is one of your favorite musicians/composers/artists? Why?

K: Gustav Mahler is my favorite composer because of his massive orchestrations and melody writing.

What has been one of the most rewarding moments of your career?

K: Performing with The Moody Blues!