Monday, June 18, 2012


Just a week after celebrating Artist Son's graduation from high school, we packed our bags and headed to Oberlin, Ohio, to celebrate Oldest's daughter's graduation from college; we had so much to celebrate and thank God for!

The celebrating anew began when we arrived in Chicago, the day before we drove to Oberlin. Checking email, I had a message from Oldest Daughter, "Call me--I have big news!". We did and she did:  just that day she received a phone call notifying her that she had been awarded a Graduate Arts Award by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, a merit and needs based scholarship that will provide the remaining money she needs for tuition and living expenses for the next two years of graduate school. She had applied for this scholarship in January, not really expecting to to receive it, and hadn't heard anything about it until that day, May 24. Amazing! Praise God! I think I must have repeated those two phrases at least a dozen times that evening. We had been asking God to provide for Oldest Daughter's graduate studies but had know idea how generously he would do so.

On to Oberlin, where we looked forward to celebrating the reunion of family. We had not seen Oldest Daughter and Active Son, who was flying in from Boise, since January, and then there were my parents arriving by car, who we hadn't seen since January 2011. Dear Husband's brother and his wife and daughter also drove up from Illinois to celebrate the graduation weekend with us.

My Dad celebrated his 73 birthday the day before graduation, and though we didn't have much planned for his day, we happily discovered that the graffiti rock in Tapan Square happened to be painted with just the right greeting.

Four years ago, Oldest Daughter and I visited Oberlin so that Oldest Daughter, in pursuit of a conservatory admission could audition. All the schools she auditioned for had good things to offer, but I favored Oberlin for it's charming situation, engaged students, and encouraging faculty.  My favorite hang-out just short-block from the Con(servatory), was the Ben Franklin 5-10. I had to explain to my kids what a 5 and 10 was.

My favorite corner third of Ben Franklin's was the third which housed Mindfair Books. I enjoyed introducing my favorite haunt to Artist Son and and Tayta, who both found interesting books: a volume of Anne Bradstreet poetry for Tayta and a small paperback on art history for Artist Son.

The rest of the weekend was a celebration of friendship, accomplishment, good endings, and new beginnings.

I love this picture of Oldest Daughter with her good friend and partner in violin adventures, and their beloved teacher and mentor, Milan Vitek. It is his conscientious and caring instruction which made Oldest Daughter's experience at Oberlin as rich as it was. I know she will be forever grateful to him, and thus, so am I.

And since we were at Oberlin, celebration included lots of good music, from jazz groups playing in front of coffee shops, to quartet rehearsals, to solo recitals, to the grand finale, a commencement orchestra performance in Finney Chapel. Oberlin has taken a decidedly secular turn since the days of of its founding by Charles Finney during America's Second Great Awakening, but this plaque, dedicating Finney Chapel, now a premier performance hall with a magnificent organ still hangs in the center of the foyer.

A quartet of friends

One last orchestra rehearsal with a wonderful conductor 

A standing ovation performance by the Oberlin commencement orchestra

(Oldest Daughter, second stand, inside.)

And in the hot sunny morning of Memorial Day, Oldest Daughter received her diploma, indicating that she has earned a Bachelors of Music in Violin Performance. Graduation gowns are optional for Oberlin graduates and I estimate that less than half were wearing them. A few more wore just their caps and tassels with regular clothes. One young man had braided his tassel into his hair like a hair extension. Clever. I had walked up to the line of graduates to clap for Oldest Daughter when they paraded  in but stayed to watch all the students enter as it was so interesting to see what they had chosen to wear for this special day.

Oldest Daughter with her cousin and aunt and uncle who drove up from Illinois

Oldest Daughter with Grandpa and Grandma

But how to get a family shot after our other family had left the graduation? My idea was to look for someone with a nice camera, hoping that meant the owner knew a little about taking pictures. The picture above is evidence that man-with-nice-camera-around-his-neck does not necessarily equal good-photographer. He held our camera at his waist and just started clicking. We politely thanked him and without even looking at the pictures, asked another young lady standing nearby to take our picture. She did much better. 

Our happy family, grateful for God's faithfulness to Oldest Daughter, and for his provision so that we could all be with her to celebrate this grand occasion.

After spending a month in Boise, where her family is enjoying spending time with her, Oldest Daughter will return to Oberlin for a few weeks of to be a counselor at Credo, a faith-based music festival. Then, she will move to Evanston to attend graduate school. She will be pursing her Master of Music in Violin Performance, and will be studying with the highly esteemed Almita Vamos in the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University.

Well done, Oldest Daughter! To God be the glory!


MagistraCarminum said...

Congratulations, everyone! What wonderful photos and events! Isn't God good?!

Anneloes said...

Congratulations! What a beautiful testimony. We only once had the joy of listening to your daughter's violin music and truly enjoyed it. How much her skills must have grown over the years, through hard work and perseverance. Praise be to God is a good thing to keep saying!!!

Cindy Rollins said...

Very enjoyable!! Congratulations!