From Corona to Walnut: continuing his musical passion

Freshman David Dutcher picked up a violin four years ago and as a result, practicing musical instruments became his primary hobby. Starting his musical journey in a small class, experimenting with five different instruments and transferring from Santiago High School, Dutcher maintains his passion for music and intends to keep playing throughout high school.

He began playing violin in fifth grade in an after-school music program called the Corona Youth Symphony. It was small and still developing, but as Dutcher kept attending and progressing his skills as a musician, the program grew alongside him.

“I like the program a lot mainly because of the teachers [and] because I’ve known [them] for a really long time. It’s helped me grow to become a better musician, and it taught me to work with other people,” Dutcher said. “Sometimes I’d have trouble playing a certain part in my music or not playing a high enough note, so they’d help me practice more and work on those specific things.”

After learning how to play the violin, Dutcher explored and learned to different instruments – trumpet, french horn, violin, cello and bass – and found that the French horn was his favorite.

“Throughout the years, every time I heard an instrument, I guess I was like, ‘I like those ones’ and I just wanted to try those instruments,” Dutcher said. “[However], I kind of stopped playing the other instruments for a while so I could focus on the French horn. I like how it sounds and the range of it, and I like that it challenges me to get better. The partials are really close and it’s really hard to play.”

Although his recent transfer eliminated some class options for him, Dutcher intends to get involved with the Walnut music program next year. He believes that Walnut’s musical program may offer him more experience.

“I just moved to Walnut three weeks ago, so I couldn’t really do anything this year. [I want to join] because it looks really fun [and] because I played instruments at my last school, and I still want to play,” Dutcher said. “I’ve had people tell me that I should join next year because the music program is really good.”

Even after his 25-mile move from Corona to Walnut, Dutcher does not let the distance prevent him from regularly driving over 30 minutes to practice weekly with the Corona Youth Symphony. In his four years with the program, Dutcher has not only learned to play various instruments, but he has also witnessed the program grow from a handful of musicians to a full orchestra.

“I was one of the first students in the program and I was pretty excited when it kept growing. I do [feel like it has come a long way] because the program first started at an elementary school and now, the program is big enough to where we have our own full orchestra, and we play on our own,” Dutcher said.

In addition to practicing with the symphony every Wednesday, Dutcher also dedicates seven to eight hours a week practicing music on his own. He hopes that his devotion to music will lead him to join a professional orchestra in the future.

“I want to keep playing after high school. I’m not really into any other activities or sports so I can focus on music,” Dutcher said. “I want to play music in college, and after I graduate and get a primary job, I want to be in an orchestra on the side. I view music as a way to improve on something by practicing and dedicating my time to something I like.”

By Brian Chen, Staff writer
Photo by Jamie Chen