Saints Stories: First podcast features an ode to a first love

Calen Moore and Kris Liggett

Podcast transcript:

Kris Liggett: Hey listeners, I’m Kris Liggett and you’re listening to Saints Stories brought to you by Crusader News. This is our first episode of stories about students at Seward County Community College.

Today, we have Dulce Perez reading an essay that she wrote for her Comp 1 class about her first love. It’s entitled, “Beautiful Sonata.”

Dulce Perez: The first time I fell in love was when I was in fifth grade. My partner was chosen for me, but I did not want to be with her at first. I remember struggling to comprehend her, and I did not like when she would scream at me. After our first month of being together, it began to make sense; she was the most precious thing ever given to me.

My violin…so brown, harmonious and rich in tone.

When I play, I fantasize about where I want to be. I dream about a great, big audience behind me while I wave my arms up and down, conducting my orchestra. My knowledge and skills being passed down to the instrumentalist in front of me who are desperate to get where I am.

Courtesy Photo
Dulce Perez plays her violin. The freshman music major shares an essay about her first love and trying to fit in at a new school.

Unfortunately, I am awakened from my dream by the sounds of crashing cymbals. In my hand, I hold a triangle. I can hear the drum beside me sizzle from how loud the band is and I could not be more miserable than this. Liberal…a town that is not only small but ugly. The place is full of one-ways and timed traffic lights. It is about 66 miles away from the place I call home, and where I have planned to study to become an orchestra music teacher. I was lucky enough to have moved to what might be the second college in Kansas to not have an orchestra program.

I tried to keep calm and look at the bright side of things. I realized that I have been given the chance of learning something new. Sadly, it seems like the only thing I have learned so far is how to properly hold a cow bell. I am a “percussionist”, or what others may consider: an outsider. My classmates seemed to be aware that I was never in a band, and most importantly, a violinist.

I was sarcastically asked a few times if I was going to play my violin in band. I could not help but think that I did not belong there. The first few days of school, I remember driving home to my ridiculously small and overpriced studio apartment; as I entered, I could see my violin just peeking from under my bed. Though I craved its tone and tranquility, I felt as if I betrayed it. I mean, I’m a band kid now…right?

My thoughts overwhelmed me with anxiety and overthinking. I kept remembering how my classmates set me aside in music theory, and when I would answer a question right, I received looks of disdain. I set it all aside and told myself it will get better as time goes by.

In the second week of school, things started to feel good. The band plays great and I have gotten the hand of several instruments in the percussion section. I arrive early and have my music in order to show my dedication. As I am practicing my counting on a jazz song, a trombone player approaches me. I don’t know his name, but I recognize him and smile.

“You know you don’t belong here right?” he says.

My smile fades, and I’m confused by his statement. “What do you mean?” I asked.

“Yeah, you are the only percussionist that gets here early when there is no point. You guys don’t even matter until the band starts to play.”

I stared at him with a straight face and I did not respond. As he walked away, I did not feel hatred, but I had so many questions. As the band was doing their scales, I look at them with admiration. I don’t know most of them, but I can almost feel what they’re feeling. I think that’s what I miss the most; sitting in the front row beside another violinist, leading the orchestra, and hearing all of us combine into one sweet symphony.

In high school I would receive compliments on how I played in the orchestra; but in college band I am just a lousy percussionist hidden…in the back. I just wish someone, or something would help me.

I arrived home that day after band rehearsal and just wanted to rest. I was walking towards my bed when suddenly I trip onto the floor. I look around, and I see that my violin case was still sticking out from under my bed. I curiously pull it out and place it on top of my bed. I unzip the case, revealing all the dust sitting on top of my violin, and I gently wipe it off with a rag.

Then I pluck the strings to see if it is still in tune-it sounded perfect.

As I was turning it in different angles, checking for other shambles, I see inside the sound holes and discover a label. “Sonata, 2010”, is what the label read. With a joyous smile, I rosin my bow and play one of my favorite concertos by Antonio Vivaldi, an Italian musical composer. There is nostalgia…flowing within me and every tone. My eyes are closed, and I feel an embrace. I’m home; my beautiful Sonata.

CD cover art by Amy Friesen