- Associated Press - Friday, February 19, 2016

STERLING, Ill. (AP) - Little did Cody Lund know that the proverbial intersection he reached in the summer of 2009 was along a road leading to a deeper understanding and love of life.

Entering his sixth-grade year at Challand Middle School, his orchestra teacher, Barb Lauff, persuaded him to run the Music in Motion 5K, at which he was slated to play violin.

It led him to cross country, one of his greatest passions and one that perfectly complements another: music.

The Sterling High School senior and Illinois State Scholar recently emerged victorious from the 20016 Clinton Symphony Orchestra’s Young Artist auditions, held for students in Whiteside and Carroll counties in Illinois and Clinton and Jackson counties in Iowa. Lund edged out another Sterling student, freshman cellist Liam Estes.

Despite the fact that he’s been concertmaster of the Sterling High orchestra for 4 years and twice made the All-State Orchestra, Lund said performing the solo during the Feb. 27 winter concert in the Morrison High School auditorium will be unlike anything he’s done.

“When I heard I’d won, initially, I was scared for the concert,” he said. “I’ve never played by myself in front of that many people.”

But before stepping out to perform “Romance No. 2 in F Major, Op. 50” by Ludwig van Beethoven, he’ll have great company - including Lauff, who also plays in the orchestra’s violin section.

She had a starkly different reaction to the good news.

“I was in tears, because this was something he had really wanted,” she said. “This is years in the making, starting in fifth grade, for him to be on that stage now. It’s that time when you’re tired at night after doing your biology homework, but you get out your violin and practice.”

And when you arrive at school early and stay late to work with your teacher, as Lund often did with Lauff.

“We developed a really good relationship, and she’s been a very positive influence on me,” he said.

“That’s the best gift you can get as a teacher - for your student to share their gift of music in the same venue,” Lauff said. “What more reward can you have than a student who wants to be here, after hours, with you working on their instrument?”

His teachers, including his high school director, Erik Oberg, and private teacher, Robert Whipple - also the Clinton orchestra’s executive director - marvel at how Lund has been able to grow in his craft, to find deeper meaning in performance.

“He does a lot of that himself,” Whipple said. “He has a very wide range of interests and experiences, and it’s important for the student to relate the piece to life experiences.”

“He helped get me past just looking at the notes, and to understand the deeper meaning of the work,” Lund said. “When you play the higher-level stuff - the Beethovens, the Bachs, and the Mahlers - you understand that these people wrote with a purpose, rather than just writing music. When you have that connection, you perform so much better. That’s really the key to becoming a higher-level musician.

“You have to channel the history of the piece through your playing.”

He admits it’s a form of theater, which he’s thrived in despite having no experience in theater. He also said he’s not necessarily a romantic, adding to the degree of difficulty.

“I don’t think I’m a romantic . so that’s a challenge, to bring out my romantic side, I guess,” Lund said. “It’s kind of acting. You have to put on a performance.”

Lauff gets misty when she describes her kinship with Lund, and said his parents, Richard and Marla Lund, are well-deserving of a standing ovation.

“If I had a child, I would want them to be just like Cody,” she said. “He’s very special to me.”

She hasn’t had another student who has so firmly embraced the journey of both music and running, and who has been so affected by their relationship. It’s that correlation that led her to start the Music in Motion race 16 years ago.

“He is seeing how those are intertwined,” she said. “They are no longer what he does. They’re now who he is, and that makes him unique to me. There aren’t many people on this boat with us.”

She doesn’t expect all of her gifted students to want to be teachers. But if they simply realize music and running are both passions sustainable for the duration of a lifetime, if a youngster simply recognizes a symphony in a movie’s score, that’s validating.

“I want them to feel the way I feel when I’m running and when I’m performing on my instrument,” Lauff said. “It’s sustainable satisfaction that comes from the immense hours and patience it takes in practicing and running. Nothing is more exposed than playing music and running - it’s all you.”

For Lund, both activities have fostered an appreciation for the moment and the importance of drinking it in deep. He loosely plans to go into a science-related field, and would like to continue in some capacity in running.

He’s not yet ready to pick a university, much less a major. He was accepted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on Sunday night. But he’ll only be a Warrior for a few more months. So he’ll put one footfall in front of the other, and take life one draw of the bow at a time, until life tells him it’s time for the next performance.

“As I’ve gotten older, especially through high school, I have to realize the moment I’m in and take it all in,” Lund said. “I’m not going to have these experiences in a couple of years.”

Cody Lund, a violinist and senior at Sterling High School, will be the star of the show when the Clinton Symphony Orchestra performs at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 27 in the auditorium at Morrison High School, 643 Genesee Ave.

Lund was the orchestra’s 2016 Young Artist, chosen from high school musicians in the area. He will play Beethoven’s “Second Romanza” at the performance.

The program will also include the overture to the opera “The Bartered Bride,” a suite from the opera “Carmen,” and the Fourth Symphony of Johannes Brahms.


Source: Sauk Valley Media, https://bit.ly/1nTSN4F

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