Music Collaboration Brings Webster Student, Alumna Novelist Together

| May 23, 2012
Jo Hiestand

Jo Hiestand

“Never Leave My Side”

Prose and music came together when Webster University alumna Jo A. Hiestand collaborated recently with Webster student Lola Hennicke on a song to be released with Hiestand’s eleventh novel, Torch Song.

A Crestwood resident, mystery author Hiestand earned a bachelor’s degree in media studies from Webster in 1983 and completed a degree in English in 2000. Hennicke is a current student in the Department of Music.

The two were brought together by Webster music professor Bob Chamberlin, a friend of Hiestand’s whom she contacted about the possibility of having a song composed for the fictional song “Never Leave My Side,” a key element in the plot of Torch Song.

Chamberlin considers Hennicke “one of his star students.” A gifted composer and singer, she¬† performs regularly with her acoustic combo at St. Louis coffee shops and restaurants.

Lola Hennicke

Lola Hennicke

Hiestand and Hennicke hit it off and Hennicke composed the music for “Never Leave My Side,” recorded for release this week along with the book.

Combined book signings and performances are being held over the next few weeks, including: Saturday, May 26, 1-3 p.m.. at Big Sleep Books, 239 N. Euclid, CWE; and Thursday, July 12, 6:30-9 p.m., Rendezvous Cafe and Wine Bar, 217 S. Main St., O’Fallon.

“The music is exceptional,” said Webster communications professor Gary Ford, who attended a book signing May 19 at The Map Room in South St. Louis.

“Lola specializes in blues music and didn’t know what a torch song was,” Ford said. “But then she realized it was actually the kind of music she performs.”

Ford was anxious to share the story of the cross-generation, cross-discipline collaboration of two gifted members of the Webster University family. “It showcases an alumna’s success and the great potential success of a future alumna,” he said.

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