“Am I part gypsy?” I asked myself as shivers ran down my spine. Anna Unruh, senior music education major, smiled as she drew her bow across the strings, playing Saracate’s “Gypsy Airs” (Zigeunerweisen, Op. 20.) during her violin recital Thursday night.
Starting violin lessons at the age of 4, music has always been a big part of Unruh’s life. The southern Oregon girl took violin lessons for 17 years, six of them from her mother. Unruh’s mother was a member of the Inland Northwest Orchestra, which Unruh too joined as soon as she was old enough. Growing up in the orchestra was like having many musical mentors—“aunts and uncles”—she called them. “It was like family,” Unruh explained. Last year, Unruh left her home orchestra and transferred into Corban’s music education program.
It was a change coming from secular community college to Corban. “I wasn’t used to guys getting mad at me for not letting them hold doors open for me,” Unruh said.
The musical change was big, too. “I was used to playing with a full orchestra, but sometimes the strings can get lost,” she said. “It was great to get to be a part of a smaller chamber orchestra. It’s challenging in a smaller group where every instrumentalist is vital.”
But there is another side to Unruh apart from music. Besides enjoying music, snowboarding, and eating pickles, she also loves shooting. During her senior year of high school, Unruh squeezed in time for air rifle target practice for 4H competitions.“It was really fun,” she said, “and I was actually good at it!”
The best event she competed in was a shoot with 30-40 participants, including only five other girls. The competitions require the shooter to fire from different positions and at multiple targets. “I almost quit,” Unruh said. “I’m so glad I didn’t, because I beat all the guys and won the whole shoot.”
Last Christmas, she asked for (and received) shotgun shells and rifle bullets, so she could have a day out with her father, shooting clay pigeons.
On the night of her recital, Unruh’s father opened the event with a prayer and ended it by handing flowers to his daughter. The stage lights dimmed; her eyes glittered with excitement. “I love playing that piece!” she exclaimed to her friends, as they congratulated her on the gypsy piece especially.
She obviously loved playing that piece, but some knew those skilled violin fingers would also love to be grasping an air rifle, blasting some clay pigeons out of the sky.