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Kris Kerzman, Published March 30 2014

Violinist hitting all the right notes

FARGO – When you first meet her, Morganne McIntyre strikes you as an exceptionally upstanding 17 year old.

She’s mild-mannered with an easy laugh and a broad smile. Like many teenagers, she likes to read, watch movies and spend time with friends and family.

But get McIntyre talking about the violin and she displays a wisdom and depth few her age can match.

“I love the emotion behind the violin,” says the home-schooled senior. “All through my younger years, I was learning the basics of the instrument, and there’s not much room for emotion. But when you do finally get to the beautiful violin concertos and symphony works, you get to express what you feel inside. If you listen to famous violinists play the exact same piece, it could sound completely different based on how they feel.”

That level of familiarity with her instrument is reaping rewards for McIntyre, who last year won a young artist solo competition award through Minnesota Public Radio.

Earlier this year, she won a concerto competition through the Fargo-Moorhead Area Youth Symphonies. This success has allowed her to be a featured performer with the youth symphony as well as to regularly play with the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra.

McIntyre says she’s been pleasantly surprised by her winning ways and never thought as a younger student that she would be playing at this level.

“It’s just fabulous and so exciting to do it now,” she adds.

The experience of playing with seasoned professionals has presented its share of challenges, but it’s also given her a deeper level of appreciation for what she does.

“It’s much harder music,” she says, laughing. “It’s helped me to love music even more because I have to dig into a deeper level of the great masterworks.”

To keep up the chops she needs to play at that level, she figures she practices about two hours a day and doubles her rehearsal time in the lead-up to a concert.

McIntyre’s experience is a textbook example of the goal of the youth symphony, an organization that has been in operation since 1967. The symphony is open to students in grades six through 12 from across the area. It brings together a broad range of participants from many school programs and, as in McIntyre’s case, home-schooled students.

Musicians must pass an audition to get into the youth symphony, adding a level of challenge to a program geared toward the development of well-rounded musicians.

Jane Capistran, an assistant professor of music at Concordia College in Moorhead, has conducted the youth symphony for 11 years and says that development is an important piece for students who might eventually go on to a career in music.

“I think what is important for me, as their educator in this system, is to give them that advanced level of repertoire and varied menu of repertoire,” Capistran says.

Capistran speaks glowingly of McIntyre.

“She’s really grown as a player. She’s truly blossomed, and it’s exciting to see that growth, that desire and that level of commitment in a student,” she says.

Capistran adds that she could see McIntyre doing well in a future in music, a plan that is already in the works for McIntyre.

She plans to attend Concordia College in the fall and is thinking about taking up music performance or music education. She would also like to have her own studio and provide lessons. She wants to travel and see where music could take her, but ultimately she hopes to build her career here.

“I love it here a lot, and I would have to absolutely fall in love with something to take me away from this community,” McIntyre says.

If you go

What: FM Area Youth Symphonies Spring Concerts

When: 4 p.m. Sunday

Where: NDSU Festival Concert Hall

Tickets: Tickets are $8 at the door.


This article is part of a content partnership with The Arts Partnership, a nonprofit organization cultivating the arts in Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo, and its online publication, ARTSpulse. For more information, visit http://theartspartnership.net.