Outreach Review


Violinist Lindsay Deutsch Plays to a Packed House with Canby Outreach Program for Kids 

By: Peggy Savage

Violinist Lindsay Deutsch interacts with her young audience at the Thursday outreach program at Richard R. Brown Fine Arts Center. Violinist Lindsay Deutsch says she tries to present classical music in new and exciting ways that thrill and inspire the young audiences of today. She delivered the goods Thursday, thrilling young Canby students with her energy, her music and her engaging dialogue. She played to a packed house.

Busloads of students from Lee Elementary, Baker Prairie Middle School and Silverton Christian School, plus some 40 homeschool students, filled the seats at Richard R. Brown Fine Arts Center. “This is amazing because she’s a really good artist and in the newspaper, she looked really famous,” said 10-year-old Brennan Beede of Silverton. Deutsch walked on stage playing a lively tune, and the crowd of nearly 800 kids erupted in cheers and applause. The outreach event gave Deutsch her first chance to perform before an audience on her recently purchased 1848 violin from France, “Vuillane.” “It’s new to me, and this is the first time I’ve played this violin on stage,” she explained to the students. “How does it sound?” She got her answer in yet another enthusiastic response.

A highlight of the afternoon was one of many interactive competitions, this one called “Name that Tune,” with Deutsch playing short bursts of music from themes for Indiana Jones, Jeopardy, Puff the Magic Dragon and other productions. With each selection, a sea of hands shot into the air as students eager to be the first to call out the title of the piece vied for her attention. Deutsch seemed to play with every fiber of her being, mesmerizing the crowd. Brief performances ranged from a segment of “Autumn Leaves” by Johnny Mercer to an animated number incorporating four Beatles tunes that Deutsch had commissioned for her violin. As she played the new arrangement, her throng of young fans stomped and clapped in time with the beat.

“This was my world premiere for this piece,” she told them at the conclusion of the number. “This is a day of firsts — my first time on my new violin, my first performance of my new piece, and my first time with all of you.” Nine-year-old Lee Elementary School student Ariel Victorino perched on the edge of her seat in rapt attention, listening to a segment of tranquil classical music. “She plays so well,” Ariel said dreamily at the conclusion of the piece. “That one makes me feel relaxed.”

A good part of the event was given to a question and answer period, and the students were full of questions. The violinist told them she had been a homeschooler at their age, and she recently moved to Eugene from Los Angeles where she had attended a conservatory of music. “I’m an Oregonian!” she shouted. “Go Ducks!”

Asked if she had a dream when growing up, she said, yes, she dreamed of being a rock star. Deutsch, 26, said she has played violin 21 years and practices at least five hours per day. “I started violin as a 2-year-old in kind of a funny way,” she said. “I was watching Sesame Street and the greatest violinist in the world, Itzhak Perlman, came on the screen fiddling away on his violin with Bert and Ernie. I was captivated. “So my first violin was an empty tissue box strung with some rubber bands, which didn’t work so great, but that was my start,” she added. The violin virtuoso continued to be her inspiration through the years, she told the students.

“I got to play with Perlman on stage a few years ago, when I was just starting out,” she said. “It was thrilling. He had polio as a child and I always admired him because he overcame that and went on to be one of the best violinists in the world.” Following the event, Deutsch met backstage with four fifth-grade Lee Elementary School students, Lilli Baguio, Abby Regain, Joe Wujek and Luke Scott, and Canby home-school student Ellie Phillips.

Heading backstage, 11-year-old Joe said, “I’m excited to meet someone so famous, right here in Canby.” Deutsch talked with the students and gave them a very special close-up look at her violin. Afterward, Ellie, an 11-year-old violin student who has been playing six years, said, “It was really interesting because this was something I’ve never done before — meet a famous violinist. She’s pretty inspiring.”