A Far Cry is pleased to introduce our first new violist in 10 years (!) Caitlin Lynch sat down with Sarah for some getting-to-know-you questions and answers:
What were your first experiences like playing with AFC?
ELECTRIC!! I first played with AFC on a tour to Corning. I remember it vividly because I was so in awe ...I was beyond moved, inspired, and impressed. We played the Shostakovich Octet and Tchaikovsky Serenade. I remember the electric intensity, commitment, and energy in the Shostakovich, and the musical freedom and joy of the Tchaikovsky (no joke, it was so fun, I’m pretty sure I was actually dancing while playing). The energy of the group was totally gripping, and I was SO impressed by their warm collegiality paired with such a professional and impressive work ethic. The process was so open, yet beautifully structured. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. The whole experience had a profoundly strong impact on me...and its been that way literally every time since! I always feel inspired making music with the Criers.
How'd you start playing viola?
I had a strong case of sibling envy when I was growing up. My older sister started violin lessons when I was quite young, which naturally led me to ask for them as well. The teacher refused, citing my lack of maturity evidenced by my love of sucking my thumb. She said that if I wasn’t mature enough to stop sucking my thumb, then I certainly wasn’t mature enough to take violin lessons. I certainly did not stop sucking my thumb, but I did get better at hiding it from her until she let me start lessons of my own! Fast forward to middle school. My youth orchestra was playing Brandenburg 3 and we only had one violist (you need three!). My conductor asked me if I would be willing to play the viola for that piece. I agreed, never having read a note of alto clef in my life. I figured I would lean on the sole actual violist to help me out. Which is why I was surprised when at the first rehearsal, he leaned over, and, pointing at the music, asked, “what note is that?” That is not a viola joke. It is a true story. I was hooked on the viola, the C string, alto clef, and violists (such nice people. I even married one!) from that moment on. My conversion was complete!
Any favorite recipes?
Since I can remember, steak with sheepherder’s potatoes has been my go-to comfort food (and birthday dinner request!). Originating on the cattle ranch my dad grew up on, the steak needs no explanation, and the sheepherders potatoes are a mess of potatoes, bacon, onions, and butter. Super heart healthy! My husband’s braised short ribs are another favorite, and I also have a mean cowboy cookie recipe that has changed my life. Also, do cocktail recipes count? Because thats a whole other list...
Lots of butter
About 2 cups of water
1 lb thick cut bacon, chopped
1 softball-sized sweet onion, 1/8th inch slices
3 large russet potatoes, washed, 1/8th inch slices
Stove or camp fire
Cook bacon until almost crispy
Put bacon on a paper towel lined plate
Dump out all but 2(ish) tbsp bacon fat
Cook onions in the bacon fat until they begin to brown
After the water cooks down a bit, add 3 tbsp butter
Cook until potatoes are soft and everything is falling apart
Serve with steak and red wine!
What's your favorite Boston thing?
Is it ok to say AFC?! It’s true! I had never spent a significant amount of time in Boston until I started playing with AFC, so its creativity, openness, integrity, warmth, passion, and fun has happily shaped my concept of and experience in the city. ...Aaaaand the ducks! My daughter is obsessed with ducks, so we spend a lot of quality time in Boston Common with our friends the Make Way For Ducklings ducks. My favorite was this winter, when someone had knit all the ducks cozy winter hats.
The very first time I played with the Cleveland Orchestra, I got a penny stuck in my viola as I was walking onstage for the concert. I was attempting to pull my mute out of my purse. It was stuck in my headphones. When I yanked on the headphones, a penny shot up out of my purse and fell directly into my viola. I couldn’t get it out, and ended up playing the whole concert with the penny in my viola. Every time I moved my instrument to play, the penny would slide the length of my viola and then slam against the side. I ended up having to hold my viola frozen up in playing position the entire concert. The embarrassment was compounded by the fact that it was a concert of piano concertos...with extensive cadenzas...through which I had to be frozen in place with my viola held high, despite not having a note to play for 10 minutes at a time.
Tell us about your beautiful kid:
Clara! My husband Tim and I are parents to a nearly-2-year-old daughter that is excited to join the honorable ranks of AFC groupies (do we sell onesies that say Crier yet?!)