Recent Otterbein Graduate Starts Career in Music Despite Obstacles

Posted Feb 04, 2022

By: Catie Duzzny ’21, MBA ’23 

Madison Hookfin ’20 began playing the violin in fifth grade and knew from then on that she wanted to make a career out of her passion for music. 

Hookfin knew Otterbein University would be the best place to develop her musical talents when a few of her high school mentors told her how personalized her music education would be and about the abundance of opportunities that would be available to her.  

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After auditioning and becoming a part the music program, she discovered it was a place where she could show her talent and be a part of a supportive community. 

Hookfin received her bachelor’s degree in violin performance with a minor in arts administration. On campus, she was a member of Otterbein Christian Fellowship and played in a worship band, an Otterbein quartet, and a few other musical ensembles the Department of Music offers.  

“These groups gave a major source of community and, as a believer of Christ, I was able to surround myself with great community my friends,” said Hookfin. 

During her time at Otterbein, she found a mentor who motivated her in Professor Gayle Walker, director of choral activities. Walker inspired Hookfin to go for her dreams as a musician while still expanding her horizons. 

“Professor Walker would discuss the importance of musicians and performers to be well rounded and not to only focus on one area of music, but to expand our horizons,” said Hookfin.  

Hookfin’s favorite music style is Baroque, and her favorite composer is Johann Sebastian Bach. The complexity and elegance of the music is what she loves most about this style and composer.  

Throughout her academic career, Hookfin had two successful internship opportunities. During her junior year, she was an intern for the Ohio Arts Council. Then in her senior year, she was an education intern for the Columbus Symphony.  

After beginning her internship with the Columbus Symphony, everything came to a halt when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.  

The internship with the Columbus Symphony eventually would lead to her being offered a full-time role. Hookfin is now the organization’s youth orchestras manager. 

Hookfin currently oversees all four youth ensembles, starting at the third-grade level up to high school students. She assists the conductors and group leaders and does behind-the-scenes coordination work to keep these groups going.  

“Seeing the looks on the kids’ faces as they’re experiencing making music and even helping provide these opportunities to play in Columbus is one of the biggest rewards of my job,” said Hookfin.  

Hookfin is grateful for all the support she has received from the Otterbein community during and after her academic career. She hopes that her story can help and inspire others as they navigate their life after graduation.  

“Things the last few years have been crazy. Even with so many challenges, do not ever give up. Things may seem hopeless and there are no doors opening, but miracles can happen, even when you’re least expecting it,” said Hookfin. 

Outside of her role at the Columbus Symphony, Hookfin also plays for the New Albany Symphony Orchestra. In the future, she hopes to continue inspiring kids and helping create more opportunities for kids to play music.