Balancing music and premature adulthood

Posted on: April 15, 2009

In an article on the front page of Wednesday’s (4/15) New York Times, Dan Barry writes, “Two days before their long-awaited trip to New York City, for many of them a foreign place, the members of the Newark [Ohio] High School Sinfonia noisily gather for rehearsal. The cacophony ends when the first of the first violinists, the best violinist, stands to lead others in tuning to an A. Her name is Tiffany Clay and she is 18, with light brown hair tied in a ponytail and large eyes that always seem at the edge of tears. She has been on her own, more or less, since she was 16, and the violin in her delicate hands was bought for $175 on eBay by her music teacher. She is a complicated young woman, says that teacher, and a gifted musician.” While maintaining top grades at school, Clay works 35 hours a week at a Sonic Drive-In carhop, pays $345 a month for a small apartment she shares with an unemployed boyfriend, and plans on studying nursing after high school. Reflecting on Clay’s performance with the school orchestra at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, Barry write, “What role music will play in her life, she doesn’t know. But for now, at least, she is on a New York stage, wearing a borrowed black gown, playing a borrowed eBay violin, and Tchaikovsky holds her.”

Posted April 15, 2009