Rocket Shop 7/16/2014: Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival

Words by Jackson Balling. Photos by James Lockridge.

Last Wednesday brought an interesting collective of musicians to the studio for Rocket Shop, specifically four college students from across the country who have spent the last month in Vermont participating in the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival, which ran from June 22nd until July 19th. We were lucky enough to have been graced by a live performance of the mysteriously stunning, Edgar Allen Poe-like arrangement that they have spent their time here perfecting together. The byproduct of their rigorous training led me to become fascinated with what led them there, as well as the training itself, and this quartet was eager to show me into their completely different world.

Jessica, the twenty year old cellist from Seattle and natural leader of the group, shared her fascination with the cello which originated from her father, who also played the instrument. Her persistence led to her parents supporting her ambitions, which then led her here to Burlington, which she expressed an absolute adoration for in addition to the various coffee vendors of our city. Her story was followed by nineteen year old violist Peter from Aurora, Colorado originally picked up the instrument in 6th grade because he needed an extra elective, and yet now he found himself in Burlington for the second consecutive summer.

The other half of the group were both violinists and the oldest within the group, both twenty one years old. Felix from Houston was also inspired by his father to begin performing at the age of ten, and he never could’ve guessed that it would take him away from the sometimes unbearable heat of Houston and to the close-knit and noticeably cooler Burlington. Rounding out the quartet was Emilie from Boston, who picked up the violin in an “instrument petting zoo” at the age of six. Being from New England she praised Vermont and the great people who live here, saying that she felt at home here.

With their origins and introductions out of the way they still had time to discuss their training schedule. Beginning with breakfast every day at 7 AM, featuring four hours of individual practice time every day but Sunday, as well as an hour of group rehearsal, and ending each weekday with a concert or recreational activity depending on the day, the musicians were put through an absolutely deep training and yet still found time to street perform and explore the sights in Vermont and across the lake as well. Despite their fully packed schedule, the quartet expressed their love for the program and Burlington, excited to take their experiences and friendships into their certainly music-filled futures.

Felix, Peter, Jessica, and Emilie bearing their smiles and instruments.