Neighbor impressed by young violinist's talent and Beaufort Youth Orchestra

info@islandpacket.comApril 23, 2012 

Thanks to Barbara Temple of Beaufort for sharing the story of a bright young talent in her neighborhood.

"CHANDLER O'BRIEN" By Barbara Temple

I have been writing about talented people right here in Beaufort and today I want people to know about a neighbor who lives just down the street from me. This young man is Chandler O'Brien.

I didn't know Chandler was a violinist with the Beaufort Youth Orchestra until I attended a concert last year and saw his mom, Lisa O'Brien, there. Lisa was then the well-regarded president of our Property Owners' Association and a busy mom and home schooler to three boys.

She told me that Chandler played violin with the Youth Orchestra and had been doing so for several years.

Later I saw Chandler volunteering as an usher at the Beaufort Symphony Orchestra concerts and I asked him if I could write a profile of him. This confident almost-14-year-old said, "Sure."

When I sat down with Chandler I was impressed that he was a well-rounded musician and soccer player.

Chandler first got interested in the violin when his grandmother started to play at age 70! Chandler, at age 8, already knew he wanted to play strings. Eventually he started taking lessons with the Beaufort Symphony's John Wiley, and at age 11 auditioned and was accepted as a second violinist with the Youth Orchestra. He is now the first chair of that section.

Chandler said he loves violin but also plays keyboard, guitar and fiddle. His favorite classical composers are Dvorak, Mendelsohn and Tchaikovsky. In popular music, he likes the Zac Brown Band and Eric Church.

In a few years, Chandler will be looking for an in-state college where he can continue his violin studies. He thinks he may, one day, like to teach music.

When not playing or practicing music, Chandler can be found practicing or playing soccer for the county PALS League. He likes both offense and defense. And sometimes he has volunteered to play violin at area nursing homes and for an Alzheimer's Day Group. He also helped the Youth Orchestra set up its Facebook page.

Chandler O'Brien and the other members of the Beaufort Youth Orchestra are examples of young people in our community who are taking advantage of the many and varied activities Beaufort has to offer ... music, sports and volunteer work. They are learning that having a gift also means sharing that gift.

If you have not yet attended a Beaufort Youth Orchestra concert, I encourage you to do so. You will certainly be impressed with these talented and engaging young musicians.

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