Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman ('13 Ph.D.) didn't think she had the talent to work as a professional violinist. Then she got hired to play for an ensemble through a college listserv. She thought something was strange during her first performance at a craft fair.
"The musicians sounded perfect and really loud," she says. "It sounded perfect because the microphones were off."
In fact, the music was almost a copy of the soundtrack to the movie Titanic. Hindman describes her experience in Sounds Like Titanic (Norton), a memoir that was her dissertation at UNT.
She toured the world and appeared on PBS specials with the ensemble for five years in the early 2000s. The Composer, as she refers to the ensemble's leader, cut off the microphones and sold CDs while the musicians played for eight to 10 hours. The Composer also chose the musicians for their looks, and the ensemble consisted of young, attractive women.
"They didn't give praise easily," Hindman says, "but they were encouraging."