Budding violinist shares talent with community
A local student’s blossoming skill with a bow is making sweet music. Thirteen-year-old Jess Causey, an eighth grader at Fort Dale Academy, discovered her love for the violin when she was just seven while attending a violin camp organized by Jan Newton.
“That camp and ‘Miss’ Jan introduced me to the techniques of playing the violin—and the fun!” Jess says.
Initially, Jess was having so much enjoyment learning about the violin, she decided to study both it and the cello. A year and a half of studying the cello led the young musician to decide it was the violin that was truly the instrument for her to pursue.
These days, Jess studies the violin with Chin Mei Li, a cello fellow in the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra who also teaches the cello, violin and piano.
“Miss Mei is very talented and she always pushes me to try harder,” Jess explains. “I try to practice at least two hours a week . . . a little every day as my schedule allows it.”
Jess’s hard work has paid off. The FDA student was accepted into the Montgomery Youth Orchestra, a group of musicians ages five to fifteen with whom she has performed two concerts free to the public.
“I really enjoy playing with other musicians . . . it’s relaxing being part of a larger group—even stress relieving,” Jess explains.
And she is becoming an increasingly familiar face as a performer.
“I’ve been in at least four recitals, played for several services at my church, First United Methodist Church in Greenville and in four weddings—including my brother Matt’s wedding to Wynn in 2015,” Jess says, adding, “I’d have to say his wedding has been my favorite event so far.”
Although she is becoming an increasingly seasoned musician, Jess admits that nerves still bother her before each performance.
“It’s always a challenge to stay calm, but I practice some breathing techniques and just try to focus on the music,” she says.
In terms of the compositions she most enjoys performing, Jess’s favorites include hymns and Christmas music, including her favorite holiday classic, “White Christmas” (“It’s unusual but simple arrangement of notes makes it very fun to play”). Her most challenging piece to perform thus far?
“’Mary Did You Know?’ . . . it contains shifting, which is a complex movement required in order to reach higher notes,” Jess explains.
Jess, who is active in cheerleading, the SGA, and soccer among other activities at her school, says her musical aspirations are to keep enjoying her music and the opportunities to share it with others. “Last year two of my friends and I played for two of the area’s assisted living facilities for the Christmas holidays,” the teen explains. “I was blessed to be able to share our music and especially enjoyed spending time with friends, too.”
She says her parents, Evelyn and Mark Causey, have also been supportive of their youngest child’s interests and endeavors. And the entire family is looking forward to another wedding for which Jess Causey will be rosining her bow.
“I am so excited. I’ll be playing for my brother Cory’s wedding to Laura Tucker in June 2017,” the young violinist says with a smile.