Wingfield’s award winning FEATURE

Crimson Newsmagazine November 2012 JEANC 3rd Place

In three hours she would stand in front of 600 pairs of eyes and ears alongside Michael Nowak, the composer behind “King Kong,” “The Hangover,” and 13 other iconic films. With a 100-year-old violin in hand and 4/4 time on the brain, Matthews would do what she had been studying since fifth grade: pour out her heart.

Matthews is principal second chair violin in the SLO Youth Symphony, an organization founded in 1965 that she has been a part of since her humble beginning as fifth chair at age 10. A performance with the Damon Castillo band, tours through southern California, appearances in the upcoming documentary “Botso,” and other opportunities have encouraged and inspired Matthews in her life-long pursuit of challenging herself through mastering the “international language” of music.

“The band is playing and we’re backing them up so you get this really full sound; it’s a really different experience than playing just classical music. It’s rock music! It’s a very unique experience,” Matthews said, who loves the collaboration of two separate musical worlds.

“There was a point where I was not very good, but I wanted to believe I was. The conductor had to tell me, ‘That person is better than you.’ It was such a lesson in humility; I realized that if I wanted to be good, I had to make myself good. You can’t not practice and expect to be good. You can’t expect people to just hand things to you.”

Fellow symphony members, including co-principal cellist George Major, acknowledge Matthews’ unique contributions to the program.

“She’s genuinely an encouraging person. She makes everyone feel welcome,” Major said, who has befriended Matthews through the symphony.

“There are lots of people who have a job but are also part of the symphony, and I can see myself on that path. I love music, and my heart is in it, even if it’s not my main source of income,” Matthews said.

Matthews plans to continue chasing the rush of performing and the moments where “things just work” well into the future and devote her life to perfecting her own musical language.


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