PHOTO COURTESY of LAVINIA CHEN
“No pain, no gain,” junior Lavinia Chen said.
After twelve years of studying violin and eventually getting leadership positions in the organizations she is in, Chen understands the meaning of the saying more than anyone else.
Chen is currently the concertmaster and president of the Tri-City Orchestra for AUSD. She was previously the concertmaster of the Little Angels Symphony Orchestra, an internationally touring orchestra, during their Malaysia tour. Before, she performed with GuangZhou Youth Orchestra after passing an audition process involving over 1,000 applicants.
“There have been so many hardships that I really don’t know how to describe,” Chen said. “I really love my violin because […] [it] is always here when I am lonely and [in] despair.”
Throughout the years, she has won a Gold Award for her violin solo at the Macau Second Annual Chinese Juvenile Art Festival and the Outstanding Musicianship Award for the Forum Music Festival in San Francisco.
Confirmed by herself, like any violin learner, Chen’s childhood became hectic but colorful because of music. Starting her journey of pursuing her dream of being a professional violinist in GuangZhou, China, Chen’s weekends were filled with rehearsals. Sometimes, she had to sacrifice her dinner time for the practices. Now looking back, the tough memories were extremely meaningful and they are the ones she most cherished.
“When I left China, the saddest thing for me was to leave the orchestra that I had joined for more than eight years,” Chen said. “After saying goodbye to all my friends and rehearsal rooms in China, I came to the U.S. two years ago. I was so lost since the transportation [was] inconvenient and there were so many obstacles for the whole family to overcome.”
Although she was not able to take violin lessons, Chen did not give up as she practiced and learned as much as she could on her own. Trying her best to balance both academic work and violin practice, life is not easy for Chen. In order to save time for violin practice, she frequently stays up late at night and gets up at 4:00 a.m. to finish her homework.
“Sometimes my tears unconsciously run down my face,” Chen said. “I can only tell myself ‘Be tough! What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!’”
Once again, “Opportunities are only reserved for those who prepare well.” After an audition, Chen’s stage transformed from the lunch table outside of AHS cafeteria to the stage at Glendale Youth Orchestra (GYO).
“I feel extremely grateful to the GYO’s manager Elinor Lloyd who provides me free rides to every Sunday’s rehearsal and conductor Brad Keimach who gives me this wonderful chance to perform as a soloist,” Chen said. “Also, I really want to thank my parents, Mr.Trulson and my violin teacher John Wang who has given me [constant] encouragement [and support] which help move me closer [toward my dream].”
In November 2015, Chen will perform at the Alex Theatre and she hopes more people will come to examine the quality of the efforts she dedicates to playing the violin.
“Some of my relatives think I am wasting time. I really wish that one day, I can prove [to] them [that] music is not useless, but the best medicine for [the] soul,” Chen said.