Baroque On BeaverClassical Music on Island Time

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Jenna Buchner

Jenna Buchner (2015)

Second Violin, Principal
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What are your most important educational and musical moments?
I always look forward to coming to Beaver Island every summer.  Though the amount of music that we rehearse and perform in one week is intense, the joy that comes from making music with friends is well worth the effort.  I particularly love the second violin section, second to none!  It is an honor and privilege to sit principal second violin and be surrounded by people who are not only immensely talented musicians but also life-long friends.  

I have been so blessed to have wonderful musical moments throughout my career.  I performed as a soloist with the Grand Rapids Symphony in 2021, which was an unexpected and exhilarating honor.  I have played chamber music with my incredible colleagues and learned so much interesting repertoire with my chamber ensemble Castalia, specializing in music written by female composers.  

I absolutely love working with my students. My students are creative, funny, and passionate about learning.  It is so much fun to help them develop their own musical voices, inspire a passion for creating music, and a commitment to overcoming challenges.   

Tell us about your family.
My husband, Mark (a double bass player), and I have a rescued Pit Bull named Norby.  Beaver Island has become such a part of our lives – we look forward to it every summer (except for Norby, who has to stay back on the mainland!).  

Why did you choose music?
I started playing the violin at the age of 7.  Music (both teaching and playing) was the only thing I could see myself doing for the rest of my life.  Now I play with the Grand Rapids Symphony and have a studio where I teach 20 students ages 5-18.

Why did you choose your instrument?
The violin was offered in the elementary school where I grew up.  I studied under the Suzuki Method (a method of teaching music similar to teaching toddlers to learn to speak) and was somewhat “competitive” with my fellow students as I really strived to be the best violin player when compared to them at our ages. I went on to earn a Bachelor of Violin Performance from the Eastman School of Music and a Master of Violin Performance and Suzuki Pedagogy from the Cleveland Institute of Music. 

What else are you currently doing?
Currently, I am doing what I love to do professionally: I am a violinist with the Grand Rapids Symphony and teach violin.  

Any non-musical interests or hobbies?
Michigan is such a beautiful state, and I try to get outdoors as much as possible when I’m not working.  In the winter, I enjoy snow-shoeing and cross-country skiing.  I also enjoy running and going for long walks with Norby.  Occasionally, you can catch me on a disc golf course with my husband.  I’m not very good, but I’m seeing improvement!  I absolutely love having barbeques with friends (featuring my homemade sausages) and playing backyard games like cornhole and ladderball.  

I very much enjoy getting ready for concerts, as it is an excuse to focus on make-up, hair, and aesthetics.  I have a ridiculously large collection of nail polish, and enjoy creating art on my tiny violinist fingernails.

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