40 Under 40: Rick Hale '07

Rick started playing classical music on the piano at age four, but when he arrived at CC, he started playing percussion. From his first audition until the day he graduated, his main focus was the band. As his leadership role in the band increased, he learned from Mr. Greg Normandin ’78 that being a leader is not so much about leading as it is about service to one’s superiors, to one’s peers, and to one’s self. Rick graduated from Michigan State University where he studied jazz drumming and English, then toured the country with his band for several years. Rick developed an interest in building clocks after finding some ancient books on the subject. He has discovered a latent love for mechanical design, and now adapts brilliant old mechanisms for his large, custom hardwood creations and has a full woodworking and metalworking workshop in Kalamazoo. The waitlist for his work currently goes out about three years.

“CC instilled in me the desire to learn. That, more than anything, has pushed me forward in my professional life. Mr. Normandin’s band programs were profoundly educational for me, teaching me a lot about how I learn and how best to work with my peers. Mr. Bob Scheuermann’s AP English class was also intensely formative for me as a reader and a writer. Mr. Scheuermann still stands as one of the greatest teachers I’ve ever had, and I will always owe a great debt to him. If I hadn’t taken his classes, I don’t think I would have felt comfortable diving into an obscure subject like clockmaking, with no one to teach me about it except old books.”

Favorite memory: Writing the drumline feature with my buds still remains a highlight of my life. We had a huge drumline my senior year (34 members), and working with them through the logistical/musical challenge of that feature was an incredible experience. There was a seriousness to that group of guys beneath the surface, and everyone learned to bring out his very best.
“Teach Me Goodness, Discipline, and Knowledge” is the motto of the Basilian Fathers and the sacred mission of Catholic Central High School. For ninety years, the graduates of Catholic Central have made a positive impact locally, nationally, and around the world.