1:09 pm EST, Tuesday, January 26, 2021
Dow High’s Grace Chae is a dedicated violinist
Editor’s note: For the remainder of the 2020-21 school year, the Daily News will highlight Midland County high school seniors who are in the performing arts (band, orchestra, choir and drama).
Music has been a big part of Grace Chae’s life for almost as long as she has been in school.
The H.H. Dow High senior took up the violin in first grade and has been playing it ever since. She is one of four rotating concert masters in both the Honors Orchestra and Symphony Orchestra at Dow, and has been played in both ensembles since she moved to Midland from Illinois in her sophomore year.
Chae said she feels right in her element when she is playing music.
“It plays a pretty big role in my life because it gives me a way to express myself and it’s just really fun,” Chae explained. “Just creating music is my escape, I guess. Just being able to read music and interpret it in my own way, and just seeing how the different techniques I use created something unique to me, it gives me something new and it helps me to stray away from the normal, everyday things.”
Chae has also contributed her musical talent outside of school, including at a performance last year through the Music Care program at MidMichigan Medical Center — Midland. She was part of a small group of students from Dow who performed a repertoire in the main entrance lobby at the hospital.
Like so many aspects of life, musical performance has been very restricted over the past year due to the pandemic.
Chae qualified for the All-State Orchestra this school year but the group will not be able to perform. She is now preparing for the yearly Solo and Ensemble Festival through the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association, which is being done virtually this year, with the first auditions in March.
But despite not having opportunities to perform publicly in the past year, Chae doesn’t feel shortchanged when it comes to music.
“I think, because I can play at home even more because I’m at home more, I’ve just been able to practice more,” she said. “Even online lessons are pretty decent because of technology.”
Chae plans to keep pursuing her passion for the violin next year at college. She hasn’t yet decided which school she will attend.
“I plan on joining the college orchestras, but probably not minoring (in music). But I’ll definitely continue with it,” Chae said.
Dow High orchestra director Amanda Thoms said Chae’s musical skills are exemplary.
“Grace is both a gifted and hard-working violinist. She is able to excel at repertoire that I have seen college students struggle with,” Thoms said. “Her level of playing pushes those around her to be even better, and I feel very lucky to have her in the Dow High Symphony and Honors Orchestras.”