By Natalie Bradford, Editor-in-Chief
Between her flawless grades, amazing kindness, and even more amazing proficiency with the violin, senior Vivian Mayers has made her mark on Reynolds, with students and teachers alike.
“Vivian is one of the best, most talented, musicians I have ever met and had the opportunity to perform with,” senior Logan Miller said.
Reynolds orchestra teacher Margaret Rehder added: “She’s incredibly organized. She’s absolutely dependable. She’s amazing.”
Mayers began her musical career early, in large part due to her family, who have also contributed greatly to her astonishing progress and skill.
“My mom played violin in middle and high school, and she even started as a music major in college, so she started me on the violin when I was three,” Mayers said. “As a three-year-old, I couldn’t really practice by myself, so my mom guided me through it everyday. She actually kept me company in the practice room until I was about 13.”
After graduation, Mayers plans to continue her involvement in orchestra in college, where she plans to participate in a Double Degree program..
“I’ve applied to colleges where I can pursue majors at a conservatory and at the college simultaneously,” Mayers said. “My top choice is Oberlin College and Conservatory, because they have a long-standing and well-organized Double Degree program. After college – and graduate school at some point – there are lots of things I’d like to do. I’ve wanted to teach violin lessons for along time, and maybe high school science. I would also love to play in a professional symphony, and working for an environmental organization would be great.”
The environment, and the debates and problems surrounding it, is another subject which Mayers feels strongly about.
“My parents have always been very aware of environmental issues, and they’ve made sure that I am, too,” Mayers said. “The problems that face our natural surroundings are the most pressing problems in the world, in my opinion.”
During her time at Reynolds, Mayers has made the most of the many arts classes available, taking dance, along with orchestra, throughout high school, an experience she describes positively.
“The RJR orchestra is amazingly friendly and supportive. Many of my best friends are people I’ve met through orchestra, and without that class every other day to just stop worrying about academics and play music, I think I’d be a lot more stressed than I am now,” Mayers said. “Studying dance alongside music has helped me understand the intersections between different artistic disciplines in a way that I otherwise wouldn’t have.”
Since she first began playing, music has had an immense impact on Mayers.
“Music makes me think about what kind of person I am, why I make the decisions I make, and what things I value most in life,” Mayers said. “It teaches me to appreciate other people on a deep level, and has strengthened the connections I have with my family. It makes me question the world around me, and also reassures me that some things- community, creativity, human feeling- will always be there.”
Her talent, passion, work ethic, and organizational skills have helped her to reach tremendous success.
“She does not over-commit, she really looks at her schedule and figures out what she can do and do well,” Rehder said. “She is famous for her practice records and her calendars that have everything planned out.”
Of course, each person’s definition of over-committing varies widely.
“In a week and a half, she was concert master for All-State orchestra the first week of November, which was rehearsals from Friday through Sunday morning, then she flew out to Dallas on Thursday, (where) she practiced nonstop and gave a big concert on Sunday with the National High School Honors orchestra, got back late on Sunday night, and Monday night she was the concert master for the Youth Symphony,” Rehder said. “I have a feeling she was a little bit tired after all of that, but you would never tell it after the level of her performance.”
Though Mayers has enjoyed her time in the orchestra, she has given as much back to the program as she has received from it.
“She has raised the level of expectations for what it means to be good at Reynolds High School in the orchestra,” Rehder said. “There’s really nothing you can kid Vivian about because she’s perfect. I complained to her that she didn’t have to play everything beautifully and elegantly, to get her to play rougher when the music requires it, and now she’s playing that perfectly too.”
By way of advice for fellow aspiring musicians, Mayers said:
“Music is a very competitive field, and you’re always going to be in situations where you’re surrounded by more advanced players. What helps me the most in keeping my confidence up is remembering that the point of playing music is to create something beautiful and to have fun. No matter what level you’re playing is at, that’s what you have to strive for above everything else.”