Laurie Carlson

Get to know your DSO: Laurie Carlson, 2nd violin

What instrument do you play in DSO/what is your role in the orchestra?

I play violin in the second violin section.    

How long have you played with the DSO?

33 years!  I started in 1987 and was principal 2nd violin until just recently when easing into a retired lifestyle required time for travel and prevented me from being present for every rehearsal and concert. I am grateful for all these years of being able to serve our community with music, for these dedicated musicians who rehearse faithfully, and for the unwavering board that keeps it all going.

Do you play any other instruments?

Viola! I think I am a violist at heart. The warmth of the lower tones touch my soul.

What is your city of residence?

Clayton, CA since 1987

What do you do for a living?

I am now officially retired (after my last two seniors graduated this spring) from my private teaching violin studio and director of Contra Costa Suzuki Strings after 37 years in the Concord/Clayton area.  I loved teaching and I will miss it, but the small taste of teaching virtually in the last few months in today’s environment was not where I found my joy!

Describe your family life (do you have a spouse, kids, pets?)

My husband, Bob, and I are planning our 50th anniversary celebration just 11 months away.  Our son, Brian, his wife and 4 yr. old daughter live in Sonoma. Our daughter, Natalie, her husband and 15 and 18 yr. old daughters live in Concord.

What was your favorite DSO concert and why?

There have been SO many, but Beethoveen’s 9th Symphony is freshest in my mind.  We didn’t know at the time, but what a magnificent experience to lead us into these crazy COVID-19 times and remind us of such hope, goodness and beauty.

What keeps you motivated?

Trying to live fully and joyfully in every stage of my life, learn something new every day, and be aware of even the smallest treasure of each day.

What is your favorite place to visit, or what is a place you would like to visit that you have never been?

We love road trips to visit National Parks and have been to 45 out of 62. Tops on our list of international trips is Iceland.  The Great Wall and Taj Mahal have “called me” since I was a young child…will we get there?!?!?

What song best sums you up? (Can be classical or not.)

“Amazing Grace”  I am grateful beyond measure for all the blessings of my life 

What are you proudest of? 

Being able to help provide resources and build relationships to empower the remote and marginalized community of Teupasenti, Honduras through the music program known as Proyecto Juda that 11 of my students and families began in 2014.  My seven trips there have proven that music heals and is a tool contributing to building lives that can make a difference and bring social change.  I am humbled by my Honduran friends who struggle for daily needs yet have taught me that we are all stronger and can do so much more than we think.

“I’m happiest when….”

I am with my family!  Their love encourages, supports, energizes, motivates​ and blesses me.  They are the “wind beneath my wings”.

What is one thing that few people know about you?  

I knit and crochet prayer and comfort blankets for all ages (babies to elderly), each is unique, no two alike.  This relaxes me after practice, teaching and rehearsals and helps “turn off” the music in my head for a better nights’ sleep.

What is one piece of music you have always wanted to play at DSO and why?

I trust Maestra Matilda’s expert ability to select repertoire that must meet a complicated set of criteria.