The first recital

The venue was prepared. Months of practice, lessons, and rehearsals all pointed to this singular event. The doors opened, the attendees arrived, excitement was mounting, and everyone was anticipating the ‘first ever’ presentation.

From left, Jordan Richmond, Bella Gifford, Elaine Brunelle (teacher), Silas Ison, and Camryn Brinker.
From left, Jordan Richmond, Bella Gifford, Elaine Brunelle (teacher), Silas Ison, and Camryn Brinker.

This wasn’t a musical premier. These weren’t professional soloists. The setting wasn’t a world-class auditorium. Rather, it was your Olive Hill Center for Arts and Heritage. The event was a studio recital, featuring four beginning violin students, ages 11 through 15. Under the expert direction of their private instructor, Mrs. Elaine Brunelle, these young people successfully presented the first ever classical music recital in the 25-year history of the OHCAH.

Songs like “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and “Boil them Cabbage Down” might not seem like ‘top billing repertoire,’ but don’t tell that to the nearly 60 friends and family who were there in support of these young musicians. From the individual solos to the ensemble pieces, everyone in attendance enjoyed the event and appreciated the effort put forth by these young musicians.

“This was such a delight!” remarked one individual.

Another smiled, saying, “Weren’t they just precious?”

“I was really proud of all they were able to do,” commented a father of one of the students. “[My child] is gaining confidence.”

Yet another attendee observed, “I was very touched! And so was my family…they thoroughly enjoyed it!”

Were the performances flawless? No. There’s no such thing as a perfect musical performance. But to be honest, this Sunday afternoon recital wasn’t solely about correct notes, precise intonation, tight rhythms, and impeccable bow technique. Not that musical performance and technique aren’t important, because they are. But beyond the event; beyond the ‘notes on the page,’ there are equally important goals accompanying music lessons provided by your OHCAH: changing lives and building futures.

One parent has observed a wonderful increase of self-confidence in their child. An older student – with no intention of choosing music as a career – has determined taking music lessons will no doubt have a positive influence on his ability to not only work successfully with others, but to be a leader as well. Several have remarked about an improved work ethic. When a student’s self-image improves, that’s as important as learning good musical technique. Developing a sense of accomplishment can go hand-in-hand with developing a good sense of rhythm. For many people, talking to a large group of people – particularly strangers – is a monumental challenge. Imagine being a youngster…. And playing a musical solo! Such an accomplishment can easily transform fear into self-assurance.

You might be asking yourself, “You mean to tell me that taking music lessons, and playing in a recital can be a part of changing someone’s life?” That’s exactly what’s being said!

In a series of articles entitled ‘Stories from the Hill,’ you’ll learn more about the positive, life-changing activities that are a part of your Olive Hill Center for Arts and Heritage. You’re invited to not only read, but come and see for yourself!

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