Frankfort teen is stellar on strings
BY CHERYL DANGEL BARTOLINI Correspondent December 20, 2013 2:14PM
Tim Michuda, of Lincoln-Way East High School, says his ability to play the violin well is a blessing from God. | Supplied photo by Root Studios
Updated: January 24, 2014 6:11AM
At a time of the year when many are exchanging gifts, Tim Michuda is sharing his gift with the community and gives thanks to God that he has been blessed with a very special gift — the talent to play the violin.
A senior at Lincoln-Way East High School in Frankfort Township, Michuda, 17, has performed with four different orchestras as a violinist and recently topped off that roster of accomplishments with yet another accolade.
This past summer, he performed for the Credo Chamber Music Festival after he was accepted as a violinist by the prestigious program at Oberlin Conservatory in Oberlin, Ohio.
Credo is a competitive program that takes only the best music students and puts them through an intensive three-week program of chamber coaching, master classes and weekly performances with leading artists/teachers from such acclaimed music institutions as the Juilliard School, the Eastman School of Music, the Cleveland Orchestra and the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra.
Credo students come from 40 states and five continents and are chosen via a rigorous audition process.
Michuda began applying for the opportunity nearly a year ago.
“I wanted to do something over the summer to keep active in music since the orchestra I play in and school are not in session,” he said. “I wanted to go to Credo because it doesn’t just focus on orchestral music but chamber music, too. But it isn’t just a chamber music camp either. It has a slight religious angle to it as well as a service aspect. We don’t just play music, we focus on where our gift came from, God, and we give service back to the community.”
Students at Credo set aside one day per week to do service for others. They use their musical gifts to work with inner-city kids, run a blood drive and perform in and around the community.
“Being able to play violin in music is truly a gift. I don’t take it for granted that I can do that every day of my life. I can’t imagine it never being a part of my life. It is something unique and something special and I should appreciate it and share it with other people,” Michuda said.
He told his parents when he was 4 that he wanted to play the violin after watching his grandfather, Leo Michuda, also of Frankfort, perform.
“My grandfather was a concert violinist, and when I told my parents I wanted to play the violin, too, they laughed at me,” Michuda said.
He persisted, and they stopped laughing when at the age of 5 he started performing with the Lincoln-Way Youth Strings.
“It was a small group of beginners, but at 5, I was young in the group,” he said. “From them on, I took private lessons and I escalated through multiple youth orchestras.”
He later joined the Northwest Indiana Youth Orchestra, then went on to the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra and finally ended up where he is now, with the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra.
“I enjoy music not only because I find joy and pleasure in being able to perform it, but I also like the challenge of it,” he said. “There’s always some new technique or aspect to the music and I like that I can bring out so many different emotions and tones through music alone.”
In addition to the violin, Michuda taught himself to play the piano, and he sings in Lincoln-Way East’s honors choir, Blue Revue, and is the student director for the all-guys group, Acafellas. He also participates in the spring musical.
Throughout the holiday season, he performed with the school’s distinguished Madrigals ensemble.
His parents, Brenda and Mark Michuda, of Frankfort, are his mentors.
“They have supported me in every way they could have, from attending every performance I do to taking me to every lesson and every practice,” he said. “They support me 110 percent. They are excited with me and they enjoy my music, and I do, too.”
Michuda would like to study violin performance in college and plans to pursue a second degree in civil engineering.
“That way, I’ll have both aspects of my life with me as I continue out of high school,” he said. “I enjoy music but I also enjoy math and science. I would like to continue that part of my life as well.
“My dream would be to be able to work as a civil engineer in a construction management position but also have the liberties to go out and enjoy my joy of music without having any financial constraints.”
Until then, Michuda is never far from his violin. As good as he is, he knows there is always room for improvement.
“I am always working toward goals and having a next repertoire to prepare,” he said. “I am always working on something whether it is a competition or an audition. I’m always motivated to be the best that I can be.”