Music Scholars Concert: A First and Last

Victoria Fusco ‘23

Violin Scholar

Victoria Fusco performing in her first Music Scholars Concert. Photo by Sam Heie ‘23.

Instrument: Violin

How long have you been playing the violin?

I’ve been playing since I was four years old.

What was one of your favorite experiences playing music? 

A few years ago, I was playing a small concert and a boy with down syndrome sat down at my feet and watched me play. It was such a small thing but he looked so happy and I had the realization of how much joy music can bring. It is a universal language that can reach anyone, no matter their life story.

Why did you decide to continue playing music for so long? Did it feel like a decision?

I don’t remember a time when music wasn’t a part of my life, so for me, imagining my life without music is foreign.

How does the way that music challenges you relate to the challenges of academics?

Music takes a lot of dedication, focus, and precision. It’s a lot like academics in that to see growth, you have to put in the time and effort. However, the challenge I get from playing music feels different than the challenges I meet in the classroom. I suppose it’s because with music, there is no wrong or right way to get from point A to point B. You do whatever helps you achieve your own musical goals, and most importantly, what makes you happy.

What piece did you play in the Scholars Concert?

I’m playing a piece called Nocturne in C-sharp minor by Frédéric Chopin. 

What do you like about this piece?

I love the beautiful phrasing and melodic lines.There are times when it’s like the violin and piano are having a conversation.

Do you feel connected to this piece? 

I definitely feel connected to this piece. I can’t really describe it in words. It’s just a feeling you get; the music feels like it’s a part of you. 

How does performance fit into your conception of being a musician? 

For me, performance is one of the most important aspects of music, because it allows me to bring joy to others by sharing music. 

How do you think music will be part of your life in the future?

I know music will always be a part of my life. Music makes the world a better place, so having the ability to share that music with the world is priceless, even if you do it in small ways.

Victoria Fusco ‘23 is undeclared major from Dunn, North Carolina.  


Blake Skelton ‘20

Violin Scholar 

Blake Skelton performing in her final Music Scholars Concert. Photo by Sam Heie ‘23.

Instrument: 

I am primarily a violinist, but I have several years of experience on the viola and piano as well.

How long have you been playing the violin?  

I started lessons (“playing” with a pencil on a ruler taped to a box) when I was five years old. So, sixteen years total.

Describe your favorite experience playing music. 

My favorite experience playing so far has been my senior recital in high school. I played music I loved, accompanied by my best friend, for all of my family and friends. As fun as it was to show off the repertoire I’d been working on, the most meaningful aspect of the performance was the audience. So many people showed up to hear me play; I truly felt like an integral part of a musical community. 

In what ways is playing music part of your life at Davidson? 

I have been playing with the orchestra for the entirety of my Davidson career, so it’s by far my longest standing extracurricular! The music program at Davidson emphasizes cooperative music-making over a more competitive environment; the community works together to prepare concerts and we form strong friendships as a result.

What piece did you play in the Scholars Concert? 

I played Fritz Kreisler’s Praeludium and Allegro, an all-time favorite piece of mine.

What do you like about this piece? 

A violinist himself, Kreisler incorporated techniques that work really well when played on the violin. String instruments offer such a variety of timbres; Kreisler’s music marries violinistic technique, singing melodies, and form to create engaging pieces that are as fun for audiences as they are for their performers.

Do you feel connected to this piece? 

I feel very connected to this piece. My mother and I used to love listening to Isaac Stern’s recording of Kreisler, particularly his rendition of Praeludium and Allegro. I performed the piece at my high school graduation, and I was very excited to perform it once again.

How does performance fit into your conception of being a musician? 

Performing has never been my favorite aspect of music, but I always appreciate the chance to expose people to new pieces. Although I tend to get very anxious about performing, I see it as an integral part of my role in the music community.

Blake Skelton ‘20 is a computer science/music double major from Nashville, Tennessee.

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