When Ethan Hanzlik isn’t feeling well, everyone around him knows.
“We got a call from a middle school teacher one time who asked whether everything was OK with Ethan,” his father, UConn trumpet professor Louis Hanzlik, says. “We told her he seemed all right, maybe a little down, and wondered why she was asking. She said he hadn’t been singing in the hallways like he usually did, because Ethan would walk around and just sing.”
Now a 17-year-old junior at E.O. Smith High School, Ethan Hanzlik always has turned to music whether he was happy or sad, angry or scared, frustrated or stressed. Today, on a bad day he’ll turn up Beyonce’s “Virgo’s Groove” or “Three Dots and a Dash” by the Punch Brothers to fight a funk.
Music has been an outlet – in much the same way that it’s inspired Louis Hanzlik, a Grammy-award winning musician and coordinator of brass and percussion in the music department, and mom Amanda Hanzlik, E.O. Smith choral director and president-elect of the American Choral Directors Association Eastern Region.
Smiles were all around, then, when Sandra Chafouleas, not just the family’s neighbor but also a Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor in UConn’s Neag School of Education, approached them with the idea for a musical collaboration – write and record the theme song for the Feel Your Best Self program she co-created and indirectly help young children channel their feelings, similar to the way young Ethan had learned to express himself.
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