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Thoughts from a Musician's Heart


“Cast all your anxieties on the Lord, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). This directive has applied to my life in many different seasons: when I became a mother and was overwhelmed with the responsibilities of caring for a tiny newborn; anytime a family member has faced serious health issues; parenting challenges with teenagers; and recently when I had agonizing pain in my left arm that no amount of physical therapy or rest could improve. When an MRI confirmed that the arthritis in the AC joint of my shoulder could only be corrected with surgery, it explained a lot! As the Assistant Concertmaster of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, I was anxious to get the problem fixed and underwent surgery in June 2019. I expected to return to performing that fall, but my recovery turned out to be much longer. I broke down in tears the first time I put the violin on my shoulder because it hurt so badly, and in September I could only play for ten minutes. Feeling discouraged, I tried to remind myself to be patient and let my body heal.

There were some unexpected blessings during my extended period of recovery, including an opportunity to travel to Europe! My husband was hired to play with the Pittsburgh Symphony on their fall European tour, and since I hadn’t returned to work, I was able to join him. This was an unforgettable trip ending with a romantic week in Vienna that wouldn’t have been possible any other year.

Another blessing was a tangible lesson in the importance and efficacy of discipline. There was nothing I could do to speed up the recovery process, so I had to trust that the physical therapy exercises were working. When I began playing violin again, a basic practice routine was all I could manage. I found that consistent practice worked, and strength returned to my arm and shoulder through PT and violin exercises. This reminded me that spiritual discipline works the same way: daily Bible reading, prayer and time with God produces the fruit of the spirit in our lives (Galatians 5:22-23).

I returned to work in January 2020 and was just getting comfortable performing again when the pandemic forced our orchestra to cancel concerts. Staying in shape during this time offered another opportunity for methodical practice. Eventually, RPO began streamed performances and later, weather permitting, outdoor concerts for a live audience. Covid protocols meant reduced instrumentation and as a result I was the Concertmaster for all concerts to which I was assigned. I’ve only performed this role a handful of times in the last decade and suddenly was facing solos on every concert! It seems unreal that in two years I went from barely being able to hold my instrument to being in the spotlight. I give God all the glory for my recovery. He has always been faithful to get me through whatever I’m facing. Cast your anxieties on him, and you’ll see that he cares for you!


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