Salisbury Symphony Orchestra
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Salisbury Symphony Orchestra - Education & Outreach
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Meet the Musicians

Susan Parker

Susan ParkerInstrument: Violin
Years with SSO:
17 years

What is your role in the orchestra (chair/principle)?

I am a member of the second violin section.

What is the hardest part about playing in the orchestra?

Going out every Sunday evening for rehearsals. It’s hard to leave home and go, but once I’m there, it’s wonderful. And sometimes it’s hard to find time to practice at home, but again, well worth the effort.

What does it take to prepare for a performance?

It takes hours of practicing parts at home and more hours of rehearsals with the orchestra. It takes a serious desire to learn the music and to work as an ensemble. It takes patience -- with myself because I am not a professional musician (I have a full-time nonmusical job), with everyone as we work through the program at rehearsals because we all need extra time at one point or another.

Do you have a memory of a favorite performance with the SSO?

I have many memories of performances and they are all good ones, but I cannot pick out a single favorite. Each performance becomes a favorite immediately following, and often when I hear a piece on the radio that we have played in the past, that becomes a sort of favorite.

Do you play with any groups other than the SSO?

I have been playing with the Salisbury String Ensemble, which is a class at SU that is performance based and has been a wonderful learning experience. I also played for several years with a smaller orchestra, the Orchestra of the Eastern Shore, which is based in Onancock, VA. I still occasionally perform with that group, but not on a regular basis.

When did you realize you wanted to be a musician?

I think I was around 9-years-old, after a year or two of piano lessons which I did not enjoy. My mother introduced me to the violin and I fell in love with it, although it was not an immediate and consistent presence in my life until many years later.

How long have you been playing your instrument?

I began playing when I was in sixth grade and took group lessons through the school system until 10th grade, when I quit. For the next 20-plus years, I told myself I would someday get back into playing, and it wasn’t until I was writing a story about the youth orchestra here for a youth section of the newspaper that I met Tom Elliot and Lacey Robinson, and ended up getting back into playing and joining the SSO. So more than 20 years, but not all consecutive years, and not full-time.

Did you study music? Where and when?

I have taken private lessons on and off for the past 20 years, at first with various teachers through the SSO and then for about five years from a teacher in Onancock. I continue to study with Sachi Murasugi.

Who are your musical influences?

My late mother always encouraged me to be musical. My husband encourages me and is quite supportive of my efforts, and my youngest son is extremely musical himself.

What CD is in your car stereo (or on your iPod) right now?

Crosby Stills & Nash Greatest Hits is in my car stereo, and a friend from high school compiled a CD with 125 mp3 files of songs we listened to back in the day, which I am enjoying immensely on iTunes.

What is your favorite style of music to play? To listen to?

To play, it’s baroque by far, although I enjoy many styles. To listen to, almost anything EXCEPT modern pop, hiphop or rap. I like classic rock from the late 60 and 70s, pop from the same era, jazz and the broad genre that is called “classical” but encompasses so much more.

What is your favorite piece of music? Who is your favorite composer/songwriter?

Don’t have a single favorite piece of music, but my three favorite composer/songwriters are probably JS Bach , Amadeus Mozart and …. The Beatles!

If you had to play a different instrument, which one would you choose? Why?

Flute or recorder (or both) because I enjoy the sound. Or harp, because it is, well, heavenly.

What do you do for a living?

Newspaper editor and editorial writer.

Do you have any hobbies other than music?

Nothing formal, but I enjoy taking pictures, riding my bike occasionally and surfing the Internet.

Is there anything else you would like us to know?

The Salisbury Symphony Orchestra is a precious resource here on the Shore that has enriched the lives of many people, musicians and audience alike. I quit playing violin in high school partly because there was no orchestra, no outlet for playing beyond the annual school recitals and so I saw no purpose in continuing to play. Today we have a reason for young people to continue playing, something to aspire to and appreciate. I am so grateful for the continued opportunity to play with the SSO and hope that the community agrees that it is a wonderful thing we have.