Orchestra Concertmaster Shares Her Love of Music
When the Orchestra at Temple Square was announced in 1999, Meredith Campbell, a professional musician who had performed with the Utah Symphony and a busy mother of seven, auditioned to become a musical goodwill ambassador for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She grew up in a musical family where everyone played an instrument—they even had their own family orchestra for a time. Campbell relished the performing opportunities she’d had through the years both as a professional musician and as a volunteer in church musical events. So when the notice of auditions appeared, she didn’t hesitate.
Campbell secured a position in the violin section when the Orchestra was first organized in 1999 and became the concertmaster in 2003. When asked about her experiences in the all-volunteer orchestra, Campbell spoke about sharing her faith through music. “It is intriguing to bear your testimony of Jesus Christ and His gospel with an instrument,” she said. “We strive to be perfect to bring the Spirit. We are at a disadvantage because we don’t have words, which means we have to work harder.”
“The fortunate thing about music is its eternal nature,” she continued. “You see how Heavenly Father uses it in religious services. It’s a way to unify a diverse congregation—to bring everyone into the same experience. Most people, when they consider their first spiritual experience, will recognize that music played an important role in what they both felt and learned about religious doctrine.”
She explained the nonmonetary rewards of being a member of the Orchestra by paraphrasing a Book of Mormon scripture that says “For their labor they were to receive the grace of God, that they might wax strong in the Spirit, having the knowledge of God, that they might [perform] with power and authority from God” (Mosiah 18:26). “Our pay comes in different ways. We can reach a lot of people through our efforts as we strive to express our feelings through the music we play.”
Asked about the skills required for potential Orchestra members, Campbell indicated that in addition to playing in tune with proper rhythm, players had to be excellent sight readers and “able to bring to life everything on the music page in the best possible way following the conductor’s direction. They should be at a high skill level and always practicing and striving to improve their skills.”
Campbell expressed her appreciation for a wonderful violin teacher who taught her that every time she picked up her instrument to play, she should focus on improving. “When you go to a rehearsal or performance, you pick a technique or point you are going to try to make better so that when you go to the next rehearsal or performance you have improved. As instrumentalists, that is our goal. We are going to play every note the best we can and improve—so the next time, it will be even better.”