My Music. My Story. Cornelius Hocker.
Words by Brian Sonderegger
“Music is my life. That’s why I’m here.” In this rendition of My Music. My Story., Classical Music Indy sat down with WRTV reporter Cornelius Hocker, who finds ways to balance his love of journalism with his passion for music no matter where his job takes him.
For Cornelius Hocker, reporting the stories of the people of Indianapolis has become a passion. As a social butterfly, Cornelius loves getting to know new people and understanding their lives through storytelling. Since moving to Indianapolis back in 2019, he has immersed himself in the community through his work, while also captivating his audiences with his conversational approaches to his reporting. He loves the impact he’s had on the people he’s met and being able to use his platform to share their stories. But when he’s not in a suit and tie behind the news desk or out interviewing others in the community, he is actively seeking opportunities to continue pursuing his other passion in life–music.
Growing up in a small town in western Kentucky, Cornelius knew from an early age that he loved music. He started playing clarinet 17 years ago, and he quickly realized that his hobby became a passion for him. In fact, he studied music as an undergrad at Murray State University. While pursuing his undergrad, he discovered his love for journalism, and decided to settle on a career in that despite his talented musical background. He has lived in several other cities because of his job; from Billings, Montana to Fargo, North Dakota, to Tulsa, Oklahoma, and finally landing in Indianapolis. But despite his frequent moves, he always finds a way to still heavily incorporate music into his life. In Indianapolis, he is currently pursuing his masters in clarinet performance at Butler University studying with Professor Michele Gingras.
Cornelius loves to listen to a wide range of musical genres, from the classical singers like Jessye Norman and Leontyne Price to the modern approaches of avant-garde music from artists such as Bjork and Imogen Heap. For him, listening to music is a stress reliever and a regular part of his daily routine. He also discovered that music actually helped his job. Certain aspects of music such as rhythm and timing are critical to properly articulating the points of his stories and ensuring that the entire message comes out smooth and effectively. He also notes that his musical background provides him with a unique perspective that helps him stand out amongst his colleagues.
Cornelius appreciates the arts scene here in Indianapolis, and sees the impact that it has on the community. For him, music is deeply personal; he believes that he would have had a different trajectory in life if he didn’t have the power of music to help guide him. He hopes that the pandemic provided greater appreciation for music in Indy and around the world. Then, he hopes to see support for music, arts, and culture rebound and exceed the levels seen before the pandemic.