After a long sequence of fast paced notes, Isabel Chin ’21 thrusted her bow into the air in a victorious pose as the rest of the orchestra faded away. Although she only had one month of preparation time, Chin played as the soloist for the Boston Pops, a world-renowned orchestra famous for their concerts of varying styles and genres.
“I felt very grateful and humbled for the opportunity to play with the Boston Pops … A lot of my peers and younger students came to the concert, which meant a lot. One of my fondest memories was an encounter with a younger student who mentioned that I had inspired her to start learning the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto. This moment was very special for me. Growing up, I had a lot of mentors in my music journey, so I am simply grateful for the opportunity of giving back,” said Chin.
According to Amelia Cheng ’21, a Metro-Boston native and friend of Chin, being able to play with the Boston Pops is a unique opportunity and speaks to her talent as a violinist.
“Growing up near Boston, I was really able to experience a lot of their concerts and a lot of their shows… It’s really crazy, because once they begin to play you really see how talented and gifted each player of the orchestra is, and knowing that Isabel was able to play with people of that caliber is just incredible,” said Cheng.
In addition to inspiring others through her playing, every Wednesday, Chin also shares her love of music with students from Lawrence in a community engagement program called Andover Lawrence Strings (A.L.S.). She says that she sees it as a way of giving back.
“With A.L.S., in teaching these students and trying to be as patient as possible with them, and just really focusing on their needs reminds me of how so many people did that for me. [Participating in A.L.S.] comes out of a place of gratitude as well, for everything that I’ve been given, and I kind of use it as a forum to give back what I’ve been given in my musical journey,” said Chin.
One of Chin’s friends and a fellow musician, Cameron Kang ’21, greatly admires Chin’s ability to express herself through music. Kang says that Chin’s authentic self come through when she plays, despite her more reserved personality.
“I think Isabel is most confident and most in her element when she’s playing. A lot of the time people see her as very shy and quiet … But I think when she plays music, she’s just completely natural, and herself in it. She plays so well, and in so many different styles, and I think people assume just because she doesn’t talk that much, she must just play quiet music. But she is just most herself when she plays music,” said Kang.
Coming to Andover, Chin has found that her music has translated into finding a greater community. She says that she appreciates the experience of playing in a group, despite the range of solo work that she does as well.
“I think I really enjoy connecting with my peers and using that as a shared connection, and as a form of expression … Orchestra and chamber are more collaborative, and that’s where connecting with your peers in a different form of expression comes into play … When you put yourself together with a bigger group of people, so it’s not just you, that’s also a really cool thing,” said Chin.