Musician Monday: Michelle Collins
Updated: Sep 29
Michelle has been a member of the Nashville Symphony since 1994. She attended the Cleveland Institute of Music and has served on the faculties of the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt, Trevecca Nazarene University, and is currently teaching at Western Kentucky University at Bowling Green. In her interview, we talk about her musical upbringing, how her family has been coping with quarantine, and her volunteer work with the Red Cross!
𝙃𝙤𝙬 𝙙𝙞𝙙 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙘𝙤𝙢𝙚 𝙩𝙤 𝙥𝙡𝙖𝙮 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙫𝙞𝙤𝙡𝙖, 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙬𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙙𝙤 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙡𝙤𝙫𝙚 𝙢𝙤𝙨𝙩 𝙖𝙗𝙤𝙪𝙩 𝙞𝙩?
Coming from a musical family, playing music was something I always knew I wanted to do. My mom played the French horn, my dad played the tuba, and my older sister played the cello. I didn't like the squeaky E string on the violin, and my parents said no way to the flute (my dad was a band director, so he knew how many of those there were!), but they did said, "If you play the viola, you will get a job." True story! Plus, I just enjoy being the middle voice of the orchestra. The harmony is always much more interesting than the melody!
𝙒𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙖𝙧𝙚 𝙨𝙤𝙢𝙚 𝙤𝙛 𝙮𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙛𝙖𝙫𝙤𝙧𝙞𝙩𝙚 𝙢𝙚𝙢𝙤𝙧𝙞𝙚𝙨 𝙗𝙚𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙞𝙣 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙤𝙧𝙘𝙝𝙚𝙨𝙩𝙧𝙖?
When my then 8 year old got to conduct the symphony at a children's concert. That's a memory she will never forget either. With Halloween coming up, I also think back on how much fun the orchestra would have dressing up for our children's Halloween concerts. Looking out at the audience and seeing all the kids dressed up was always a treat too.
𝙄𝙣 𝙮𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙢𝙞𝙣𝙙, 𝙬𝙝𝙞𝙘𝙝 𝙘𝙤𝙢𝙥𝙤𝙨𝙚𝙧 𝙤𝙧 𝙥𝙞𝙚𝙘𝙚 𝙗𝙚𝙨𝙩 𝙛𝙚𝙖𝙩𝙪𝙧𝙚𝙨 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙫𝙞𝙤𝙡𝙖?
Brahms, Brahms, and more Brahms! But, one of the best pieces for the violas is Faure's Requiem. It prominently features the violas, as there are no violins except for one pesky soloist.
𝙒𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙙𝙤 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙡𝙞𝙠𝙚 𝙢𝙤𝙨𝙩 𝙖𝙗𝙤𝙪𝙩 𝙉𝙖𝙨𝙝𝙫𝙞𝙡𝙡𝙚?
I moved here 26 years ago from South Bend, IN. I have always enjoyed how friendly most people are despite us northerners moving down here (as my southern raised husband likes to point out.) Most of my family live in this area, so this is definitely home.
𝘾𝙖𝙣 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙩𝙚𝙡𝙡 𝙪𝙨 𝙖 𝙡𝙞𝙩𝙩𝙡𝙚 𝙗𝙞𝙩 𝙖𝙗𝙤𝙪𝙩 𝙮𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙫𝙤𝙡𝙪𝙣𝙩𝙚𝙚𝙧 𝙬𝙤𝙧𝙠?
I have volunteered with the Humane Society and Big Brothers/Big Sisters, but my volunteer work with the Red Cross in Nashville was life changing. I started volunteering there one month before 9/11 and watched the need for the Red Cross grow quickly. Whether it was supporting families at a house fire at 3:00 in the morning, helping with blood drives, or natural disasters like Katrina, I felt like I was making a real contribution to our city and beyond.
𝙃𝙤𝙬 𝙝𝙖𝙫𝙚 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙮𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙛𝙖𝙢𝙞𝙡𝙮 𝙗𝙚𝙚𝙣 𝙨𝙥𝙚𝙣𝙙𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙞𝙢𝙚 𝙨𝙞𝙣𝙘𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙎𝙮𝙢𝙥𝙝𝙤𝙣𝙮 𝙨𝙩𝙤𝙥𝙥𝙚𝙙 𝙥𝙚𝙧𝙛𝙤𝙧𝙢𝙞𝙣𝙜?
We have formed a schooling "pod" at my house with 4 kids. Most of my time is spent helping them succeed in their virtual learning environment. It makes me think even more highly of our teachers! I sometimes try to sneak in some viola practicing as well, while they are in class. My family has spent more time on the greenways since March. We have enjoyed extra family time together that we normally would not have had, and are trying to find the silver lining in all this.
𝘿𝙤 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙝𝙖𝙫𝙚 𝙖 𝙛𝙖𝙫𝙤𝙧𝙞𝙩𝙚 𝙗𝙤𝙤𝙠?
Scream Free Parenting (seriously!)
𝙒𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙙𝙤 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙢𝙞𝙨𝙨 𝙢𝙤𝙨𝙩 𝙖𝙗𝙤𝙪𝙩 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙎𝙮𝙢𝙥𝙝𝙤𝙣𝙮?
I mostly miss my friends, and playing those pieces that bring me to tears.