Peterson Excels Musically

Peterson Excels Musically

Elizabeth Low, Staff reporter

I first met Joel Peterson at my piano teacher’s house a few years ago and I remember being in shock when I overheard that he plays his violin at three o’clock in the morning.  However, I am not shocked when he successfully leads the violin section through Piazzolla’s Invierno Porteno and Primavera Portena, where Linn-Mar earned 1st place at the Jefferson Invitational this year.  Inspired by his two older violinist sisters, Joel started playing the violin when he was six years old.  Besides following his sibling’s footsteps, Joel says he picked the violin because he was simply attracted to the instrument.

“I love how the violin gives me a way to express and define myself.”

When it comes to other role models, Joel looks to famous violinists like Hilary Hahn and Itzhak Perlman for inspiration, and learns playing skills from them.  As of right now, Joel is playing the challenging 2nd Violin Concerto by Wieniawski, which he will be performing as a solo on May 14th, at the final Symphony Concert of the year.  Although this piece is very difficult, it is not a stumbling block for him.

“The biggest obstacle for me is time management. With homework and other situations that come up, I try to practice at the same time of day so that I have a steady schedule.”

While playing 2-4 hours a day is difficult to manage in the midst of working at Hy-Vee Drugstore and participating in Chamber, Symphony, and Pit orchestra, Joel manages to volunteer in the community and is working toward 160 Cords hours.  As for his other musical interests, Joel shows promising vocal talent as he is in the varsity choir and has participated in 10th Street varsity choir for two years.  He also plays the piano and enters yearly competitions.  Besides Joel’s ability to juggle the many activities he is involved in, he is an exceptional leader, alternating with his co-section leader in cueing in the Violin I section and he also sometimes holds sectionals where he offers advice to other violinists.

Because of the passion and dedication Joel has for his violin, he earned a spot in the Iowa All-State Orchestra for his entire high-school career, won the 2019 Young Artists Competition and was awarded the title “Best in Center” for two years in State Solo.  With such musical ambition, it is no surprise that Joel will be pursuing a career in music as he is graduating this year.

“Next year I will start attending Lawrence University, double majoring in Violin Performance and Music Education. Following college I hope to teach for a few years, then move on to a Masters Degree in Violin Performance.”

However, pursuing a music career also means that he will be leaving Linn Mar Orchestras but       Joel says he will make the best of what the future has to offer for him.

“Orchestra has been a great experience and has prepared me for further music making. I am sad that I will not play with the Linn-Mar Symphony Strings ever again, but I take comfort knowing that I will continue to make music throughout college and beyond.”

Wherever Joel’s musical talents will take him, there will be an empty 1st chair next year and the whole orchestra will miss him.