CASTOR — Talented local violinist Angelina Weber, 22, achieved her music degree with distinction in violin performance at the prestigious Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., at the May 20 commencement.
Weber’s music journey has been a dedicated one that has filled most of her young life, playing violin since the age of six.
“Playing the violin has been a character-builder — it shapes attitude and outlook on life,” Weber said last week from her Castor home. “It develops discipline, patience, confidence and stamina.”
Weber grew up on a farm near Castor, the daughter of Walter and Veronica Weber, with two older brothers, Corwin and Nigel. The family is musically inclined; Veronica has a music degree and plays piano, Nigel also plays piano, while Walter plays the trumpet.
Weber took her grades 1 to 9 education at Theresetta Catholic School and graduated from Gus Wetter high school in 2008.
Her first two years of violin lessons were taken in Red Deer, and at the same time, she took voice lessons in Stettler from Elaine Pitt.
When she was eight, she began taking her violin and voice lessons twice a month in Edmonton. That continued until she was 18, except during the last year, when lessons were taken once a week.
From the time Weber was six until she graduated, she competed in the music festivals in Stettler and Coronation. She participated in HATS (Heartland Arts Troupe Society) at Stettler for two years, providing music for “Fiddler on the Roof” and “Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat.”
“I enjoy music a lot — music is meant to be shared,” she said.
Weber has also entertained at many functions in her hometown and the surrounding communities. She usually holds a concert once a year in Castor, often on her Christmas break. The last couple of years, she has had a summer job at the Paintearth Lodge, where she finds it “heart-warming” to entertain the residents.
“The small communities are so supportive and that is motivating,” Weber said.
The multi-talented Weber decided to devote her entire focus to classical violin training, and has put her singing on hold for now.
Weber spent four years in Rochester studying classical violin at the Eastman School of Music, ranked as the top school of music in the U.S. The school, an affiliate of the University of Rochester, has about 1,000 students. It was established in 1921 by well-known philanthropist George Eastman, also the founder of the famed Eastman Kodak Company.
The popular school receives 2,000 new applications each year, of which only 13 per cent are accepted; a quarter of those are international students. Weber was one of the only 260 accepted, and a live audition was a requirement.
There were 16 violinists in her class, from different backgrounds and countries, but the blended class “was very supportive of each other,” according to Weber.
For her degree recital, held in April in the historic 1922 Eastman Theatre, Weber was required to perform one hour of violin music. Some of the pieces she chose to play were enduring classical pieces from the 1700s.
“I loved the traditional setting and the traditional music,” Weber said. “I am very grateful for the opportunity to study there; it was a wonderful four years.”
For Weber, her learning journey is not yet over. She is enrolled in McGill University in Montreal for two years, starting this fall, where she will pursue her master’s degree in music.
Weber is looking forward to spending two weeks in Eisenstadt, Austria, in August, where she will perform at the Classical Music Festival.
Her mother will accompany her on the trip.
“You never quit learning — the more you learn, the more you realize there is to learn — it is endless,” Weber said.
Weber’s eventual goal is to play in a symphony orchestra and perhaps do some teaching on the side.
With Weber’s talent, incredible drive and dedicated commitment to her craft, there is little doubt she will be able to achieve anything that she puts her mind to.