Spotlight on Scripps Artist Jeannette Hunker


Hannah Grunow ’22
Art Columnist/Photographer

Meet one of Scripps College’s artists, Jeannette Hunker! Hunker, who enjoys both visual art and music, chose to attend Scripps College because of its strong reputation in the arts. In her first two years at Scripps, she has taken private lessons in piano and voice in addition to having been part of the Claremont Concert Choir and the Pomona College Choir. In her spare time, Hunker enjoys drawing, having studied art in high school, in addition to hiking and sleeping.
“I think I have had a unique experience, since most people do not grow up with two professional musicians for parents as I did. It has been a very musical life…the house is always filled with music. And interestingly, my parents never forced me into music,” Hunker said. “They didn’t try to make me a child prodigy at three! But I think that was an advantage,” she added laughingly.
After considering focuses in fine arts, political science, Spanish, and literature, Hunker finally decided on a double major in history and music.
“I chose history because I enjoy studying the past, and…I wanted to understand humanity better, mainly,” Hunker said. “It makes me happy to take music classes and play music…I have been playing piano for about eight years, and I have been singing in choirs for 10 years,” Hunker said about choosing to add music. She notes that she is also considering a dual major in history and music, even with the “certain creativity” that it would require in thesis planning.
Hunker has had positive experiences studying music at Scripps. “My music lessons at Scripps have been great. I love my piano faculty. They encourage me to do my best. They challenge me, but they always make me feel good about my accomplishments. The opportunities for recitals, on campus or virtually, have been great experiences — as well as incentives to practice!” Hunker said.
Hunker noted that something she has gained from these performances is confidence. “Having the chance to perform has encouraged me to pursue music at Scripps College, and I have learned so much as a pianist and as a vocalist from my lessons at Scripps,” Hunker said.
She specifies that she has enjoyed her lessons with Professors Anne Harley and Hao Huang. “I think this goes for Scripps classes in general, but my music classes really incorporate the liberal arts aspect of it — it’s not just learning how to play an instrument. It’s connecting that with the history and it’s interdisciplinary. The professors encourage us not only to improve our piano or vocal technique, but to think about the historical significance, et cetera of what we’re playing,” Hunker said.
In addition to these performances and lessons, Hunker notes that she has had “quite a few” memorable experiences at Scripps. “During the spring semester of 2020, I had two performance opportunities. The first was performing in the Beyonce mass, which is a womanist worship service that uses the songs of Beyonce as a method for teaching religious practices — it is an intersectional feminist Christian congregation.”
“The second opportunity,” she continued, “was performing with the Claremont Concert Choir with Professor Anne Harley and a few other music faculty members, in addition to composer Jodi Goble and a group called Crossroads (which helps formerly incarcerated women get back on their feet). All of these groups got together and sang a piece composed by Jodi Goble [“True Witness: A Civil Rights Cantata”] that was about slavery in the United States and Black liberation,” Hunker said.
“I’m not trying to become an opera star!” She laughed about her future plans. “I do, however, see music in my life through doing music education…I am considering becoming a teacher. I hope to keep music in my life in one form or another,” Hunker elaborated.
When asked if she had anything else to note, Jeannette said enthusiastically, “I miss Scripps! I want to go back.”

Image Source: Jeannette Hunker ’23

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