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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Talent Show (interview with violinist Elisabeth)

We're just finishing up the week-long 10th Annual Pohang International Fireworks Festival. A couple of weeks ago, the pastor of Pohang International Church contacted Nick to see if Elisabeth would be interested in entering the talent contest for foreigners on July 27.  Elisabeth, who relishes new challenges, was eager to enter. The following interview took place on the bus ride home after the contest.

Mama (Sherri) Lantinga: When did you start playing violin? What made you start?
Elisabeth: I started when I was 5. I was inspired by my brother David - he seemed so happy when he played his violin, so I wanted to play it too.

ML: How did you learn to play so well?
E: I've had two teachers and my father helped on the side.  My first teacher, Mrs. Boone, in Iowa, helped me with literature and to love music.  When I moved to Korea in February, I started taking lessons with Mrs. Kim. She helps me with my posture - and she's so picky!  She makes sure everything is perfect.

ML: When did you start playing publicly?
E: When I was about 7, I started playing duets with my brother at churches, and I played in recitals, a festival every February, and then in a youth orchestra.

ML: How did today's contest feel different from other performances you've had?
E: It had competition - it made me feel a bit aggressive and I really wanted to win.

ML: How did you prepare for the contest?
E: I've worked on the piece I played (Concerto in G minor by Vivaldi) since February and had already memorized three pages of it.  I knew the contest would be outside, and I needed to get used to the weather and distractions while I was playing.  So, over the last week I practiced outside - on my apartment building's roof and on a picnic patio on campus where lots of students walk by.  I learned not to get distracted and to keep going if I made a mistake or got hot.

ML: Any other preparations?
E: We went shopping! I tried on a lot of dresses and found my "jungle dress." There are blue  lines all over it, with a black background. - it's a knee-length, sleeveless dress with "fricks and franks" (extra cloth draping on the top). For my hair I decided to just wear it down - wearing a bun made me look bald! :)   For my shoes, I got tan ankle boots with 3" heels, open toes, and jungly stripes of lace and leather.

ML: As you went on stage, what were you thinking?
E: I was thinking that no matter what, I always win because my family loves me and I get a Baskin-Robbins trip after that. My favorite flavor is popping tropica.  Yum!

ML: What were you thinking when you finished?
E: I thought it was the best I have ever played - but it was no match for my new friends, who were acrobats - they deserved first place!  I think I should have won second place, but the judges and crowd wasn't right for this kind of music. They didn't listen to the certain details that made the whole piece come together.

ML: Would you want do this kind of thing again?
E: It would be fun to do again!  I would play a little faster, and maybe play a traditional Korean song so I can try to win!

ML: Any last words for our blog readers?
E: Until next time!

Postscript: Elisabeth didn't win the "life time" award (that went to a tradtionally-dressed Chinese woman and her girls who sang a Korean folk song), or first place (that went to a British guy prancing around in pink pants while singing "Play that Funky Music White Boy") or 2nd place (GREAT Wisconsin couple who did juggling, acrobatics, dancing - huge crowd favorite). So, we don't know for sure where she ranked, but it was definitely in the top 4 of out 9. : )

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