For three decades, music has been a part of Michelle Dick’s life. But no amount of her passion and persistence could keep it from being taken from her in an instant.
Since elementary school, Dick played the piano and violin (later switching to viola) and sang in choirs. Faithfully committed to studying voice, piano and viola over many years, she eventually received her master’s degree in music, and she taught orchestra for five years in the public school system.
In 2008, a car wreck left Dick with a severe concussion that affected her brain’s capacity to comprehend certain things.
“I ended up not being able to read music or do anything concerning numbers after the accident,” said Dick. “Not only that, but I lost the nuances of musical expression.”
Music had been Dick’s life. Not only was it her livelihood, but it was her greatest source of joy.
“Music is everything to me,” said Dick. “I have come to realize that I cannot be happy unless I can play music—specifically, playing it for myself and enjoying the nuances and the art of it.”
Recovering from the accident took years and the journey was not easy. After a lifetime of studying, teaching and performing, she had to start at the beginning and learn to read music again. Through much perseverance, she re-taught herself everything.
“It took a lot of time and effort, mentally, physically, and emotionally. I often cried.”
Her work eventually paid off. Dick now teaches orchestra again at O.T. Bonner Middle School in Danville, and she plays viola with several semi-professional orchestras in both Virginia and New York City.
This year, on February 21, Dick will share her re-kindled talents with Martinsville as she returns for her third performance with the Chamber Music Ensemble.
Playing with the ensemble is important to Dick, in fact it is worth an hour drive each way to attend the practices. Dick has reconnected with the greatest source of joy in her life, and she would not miss the chance to make the most of it.
“It’s well worth the time commitment,” she said.. “It’s important for me to participate in a group like the ensemble. Making music with friends is my source of fun and relaxation.”
Dick and the ensemble will be presenting “Lovers and Losers at Love” at the Walker Theater at Patrick Henry Community College on Sunday, February 21 starting at 3 p.m. General admission tickets will be $10, and students tickets will be $5. Tickets will be available at the door.