June 2015. Wingspan Online.
This was it. The big moment.
Amanda Southern stood on the stage, her 25-year-old professional violin in hand. This was the moment she had been practicing three and a half hours every day for.
Despite the practice, she was still nervous. This was the moment that would decide whether she would get into college or not.
She raised her violin, and the sound that she had fallen in love with from her very first day she picked it up, reverberated through the room.
“I just remember being on stage and thinking, ‘This is it. I have to play to get into college,’” Southern said. “ I ended up making it.”
Southern will be attending Furman University as a music performance major this fall on a $30,000 music scholarship. Southern says she chose Furman because of Tom Joiner, the violin teacher there.
“I chose Furman because I really like Tom Joiner,” Southern said. “I went to other colleges, but I preferred Tom Joiner and the way he taught more than other teachers.”
Southern had to sit through an audition process to gain acceptance to Furman’s School of Music. For the audition, Southern had to prepare three pieces: a concerto, a Bach piece and an etude or caprice. For the concerto Southern selected Charles Beriot’s Sine de Ballet and for the Bach piece she selected the Partita No. II. Southern began working on her pieces in August before her senior year began.
“I kept working on the pieces throughout the school year. I have a teacher at Converse College and another one in Asheville. When I visited them, they would help me get my piece together,” Southern said. “I really like Bach because his music is so different from all the other composers and the way you play. It was really stressful. I had to practice a ton.”
Southern hopes to participate in the symphony orchestra at Furman, as well as in smaller orchestras, pit and chamber groups. Previously, Southern has played in the school orchestra and has served as the section leader and concertmaster for the Hendersonville Youth Symphony. Southern has been playing the violin for seven years.
“I really like my violin. I can’t imagine not playing it,” Southern said. “I’m really attached to it because of the sound it creates. Not everyone can create that sound, and it’s just special. The sound can express what I can’t necessarily say.”
Southern hopes to impart to all people interested in pursuing music the values of hard work and practice.
“You have to practice. If you don’t practice, you’re not going to get anywhere. As much as people don’t like it, you have to,” Southern said. “Even if you think you’re good at a piece, you can always make it better.”
By Ari Sen
Amanda Southern practices her violin for a performance. Southern will be attending Furman University on a $30,000 music scholarship. Photo by Annalyse Wilkins.