Spotlight #5: Annalisa Peterson

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Annalisa Peterson, French Horn with the MSO for 22 Years

Submitted by MSO Board Member, Richard Iascone

How did you get involved in music? What is your musical “history?”
I started playing piano at age 6, but in middle school I decided I wanted to play with other people.  I wanted to play oboe because of "Send In the Clowns," but there weren't any, and I guess they figured I was up for a tricky instrument, so they gave me a French horn.  I played a lot of instruments throughout high school including horn, trombone, trumpet, baritone, piano, recorder, voice, and bugle. I even taught the bugle, though I only started playing it a few weeks before my students. I once played "To The Colors" for thousands of people on the Boston Common! Then at Wellesley College I took up the sacbutt (a renaissance-era trombone) before settling on just horn. My family is musical, and I still play in the Lexington Bicentennial Band with my father.

Where did you study music?
I was a math and music double major at Wellesley College, and kept playing in grad school at Dartmouth College, and now I play in several of the regional orchestras, including Melrose, the North Shore Philharmonic, and the Lowell Philharmonic. My favorite music is Brahms, and anything with lots of horns!

What is your most memorable MSO concert or experience?
My most memorable experience with the Melrose Symphony was my first day. I was living in New Bedford, which is 70 miles from Melrose, and I drove up in a tremendous rainstorm - the October Nor'easter of 1995. Memorial Hall had flooded (which I didn't know) and I eventually found out that rehearsal had been moved to the high school.  I drove over there, and didn't see anything (the Fellsway was flooded too, of course) and when I saw a fountain of water coming up out of a manhole, I decided to wait for another day.

Special Note:
Ms. Peterson has also taught math at Melrose High School for the past 16 years and knows many of the student musicians in the Melrose Symphony.

Spotlight #4: Deb Zimon

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Coffee with Deb Zimon, violinist with the MSO for 20 years

Submitted by MSO Board Member, Denise Gaffey

Deb began playing the violin in the fourth grade while at the (former) Franklin Elementary School in Wakefield. She wasn’t attracted to sports so an instrument seemed like a good idea. She’s been playing the violin ever since!

Fellow MSO player, Priscilla Hunt, was Deb’s orchestra teacher from sixth through eighth grade.  Deb continued with the violin throughout her four years at Wakefield High School. She graduated from high school in 1985, the same year that she joined the MSO.  

Deb attended college locally and continued to live locally which enabled her to volunteer with the MSO throughout her college years.  She participated until 2003 when her daughter Alana was born.  She resumed with the MSO in 2016 when family and work became easier to balance with weekly rehearsals.  Deb returned and continues to play with the MSO because she loves music, enjoys connecting with other orchestra members, and appreciates the nurturing environment. Currently, she is a Retail Store Planner for New Balance and resides in her hometown of Wakefield.

Q: Are you from a musical family?
A: Deb’s aunt played piano, and her brother played the clarinet.   Her sister was involved with drama and currently her daughter sings and acts.  Her dad enjoyed classical music so she had a lot of exposure to that growing up.  Deb remembers attending the Bicentennial Fourth of July concert with the Boston Pops on the Esplanade.  That and going to Tanglewood were inspirational events that influenced her decision to perform with the MSO.

Q: Do you get nervous before a performance?
A:  Yes!  Deb responded that it has been challenging to get back into performing and learning higher positions on the register.  Also, Yoichi has very high standards so that adds to the pressure.  She and her stand mate, Christine, work well together and work to calm themselves down when the pressure is on.

Q: What is your favorite orchestral piece and why?
A: Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, because it is beautiful and relaxing.

Q: Outside of music what are your other passions?
A: Deb enjoys creating Bullet Journals, which is a tool used to plan and organize.  She also finds adult coloring books relaxing.

Q: What lessons learned and inspiration would you offer children musicians?
A: Don’t give up!  There will be setbacks and challenges, but keep positive and keep passionate.

Q: Fond memories of playing with MSO?
A: Deb finds the May Pops concerts to be the most moving and poignant.  She loves the patriotism and connection to the Fourth of July, which also happens to be around the time of her birthday!  She loves the unfurling of the American Flag on the stage and, of course, Yoichi’s uniquely patriotic hats.