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Students get chance to chat with violinist

November 06, 2006|by MARIE GILBERT

HAGERSTOWN - When many girls her age were playing with dolls, Amanda Rutten was playing the violin.

She was in elementary school, she said, when she attended a strings class, heard the instructor perform and decided "I want to sound like that one day."

"Ever since then, I've been addicted to the violin," the 20-year-old from Frederick, Md., said,

It is Rutten's love of music that opened the door Sunday to an opportunity of a lifetime - a chance to meet one of the world's leading violinists, Midori.

Before her sold-out concert at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, Midori met with 24 area high school and college students who shared a common bond - a love of music.

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A student at Hood College, Rutten said the chance to meet the renowned violinist was "a dream come true. I appreciate everything she does and the serious dedication she applies to her work. To have the opportunity to meet her is such an honor."

According to museum director Joseph Ruzicka, a letter was sent to area music departments that asked music teachers to submit a number of their top students for a chance to meet Midori.

The students were selected by lottery, he said.

In addition to meeting with Midori, students were invited to attend her museum performance, thanks to a local couple, Mr. and Mrs. Spence Perry, who purchased their tickets.

"It was a great gesture on their part," Ruzicka said. "Many of these students probably wouldn't have been able to afford those tickets. Now they can say they heard Midori in concert."

Midori brought rock star energy to the museum, as the young people waited in the lobby to meet with her.

"This is such a big honor," said Greg Starliper, 23, of Clear Spring.

A music major at Shepherd College, Starliper was joined by two fellow Shepherd students who admitted to being huge Midori fans.

"I never thought, not in a million years, that I would get to meet her," said Tiffany Claiborne, 20, of Frederick, who is majoring in music education. "This is something I'll remember forever."

Kari Edge, 20, of Harpers Ferry, W.Va., said she and her friends have followed Midori for quite some time.

"She has an incredible story," she said. "She was a child prodigy and now she's an international celebrity."

Edge, who is a piano pedagogy major at Shepherd, was already thinking of questions before the informal chat with Midori.

"I'd like to know who her greatest mentor was," she said.

Midori met with students for about 45 minutes in the museum's library.

She talked with each student about the school they attended and their music interests.

She then took questions from the group that ranged from what kind of bow she used to who her favorite composers were to how she stays motivated.

The violinist encouraged students to continue to love music, whether they pursue it professionally or not.

But she also told the group that while music is an important part of her life, "it doesn't overtake it."

Following the meeting with Midori, Camille Heim, 15, of Boonsboro High School, said the opportunity to meet Midori was the chance of a lifetime.

"I enjoy music and know it will always be a part of my life," she said. "It was an honor to be in the same room with Midori."

Mary Schultz, 17, of North Hagerstown High School, thought Midori was "amazing. I see her love of music and how she presents herself. I loved listening to everything she had to say."

Schultz said this was something she would always remember.

"I'll always look back on this as a very special moment in my life."

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