Becky St. Clair
Hailing from Loomis, California (near Sacramento), Alexis Keller is a nursing major in her junior year who also happens to be both a fabulous violinist and a successful competitive water-skier. Not only is she a first violinist in the PUC Orchestra, but she plays second violin in the college’s string quartet as well.
Alexis was gracious enough to share her passion and insights with us so we could share them with you. Without further ado, meet Alexis!
When did you start playing the violin?
I started playing the violin when I was three years old. Interestingly enough, the school I went to at the time required everyone to learn how to play the violin. After the violin teacher left the school, my mom, who is also a violinist, continued to practice with me at home and took me to private violin lessons.
What kept you interested in that particular instrument?
I have continued to be interested in and play the violin because I love the medium of emotional expression it creates, the ability to connect with others through the language of music, and the opportunity to worship God through music. Also, in my unbiased opinion, the violin is one of the most beautiful-sounding instruments and truly emulates the human voice.
Because of my experiences playing the violin, I have had opportunities to connect with lifelong friends, perform famous orchestra pieces, and play in performances around the world.
Aside from learning the violin, tell us about your experience with music as a young person.
Music was a big part of my life growing up. From as early on as I can remember, I was brought along to my mom’s orchestra dress rehearsals and concerts. I grew up listening to the orchestral works of Beethoven, Dvořák, Mahler, and Haydn (to name a few), both at my mom’s orchestra concerts and on the radio station when my parents drove me home from school. At the age of seven, I joined the Sacramento Youth Symphony and continued to perform in the orchestra for the next decade until I graduated high school at age 17.
What makes music valuable to you here at PUC?
I am very grateful for the opportunity to continue making music at PUC because I am surrounded by a community of like-minded students and professors who share the same appreciation for music and passion to share that love of music with others. The environment PUC’s department of music has created pushes me to become a better musician and provides a creative outlet for a much-needed break from my studies!
What is your favorite piece of music you’ve ever performed, and why?
Definitely Accolay’s Concerto No. 1 in A Minor. This piece holds a special place in my heart because it was my first time soloing with an orchestra. It was a really great experience to go through the process of working with the orchestra and conductor to create the performance and then share that with my family and friends.
How do you balance study and music?
Finding time to practice can be very difficult, which is one of the reasons I am so thankful to be in orchestra and quartet. Without these scheduled times, I am not sure I would so frequently play my violin. The best way to balance my busy schedule is to remind myself how important it is to take time for myself and what I love to do, like making music.
Okay, so heading a completely different direction, tell us about your other, non-musical hobby.
Competitive slalom waterskiing is definitely a less conventional sport, but one I absolutely love doing. I started skiing and competing around the age of seven after much convincing from my mom to enter a tournament. After that first tournament, I was hooked. I loved competing against both my personal score as well as the other girls in my division and the constant challenge to complete the next pass as the rope was shortened. I have won many local tournaments and received medals when I traveled throughout the U.S. for regional competitions.
What’s one class here at PUC in which you feel you’ve learned the most?
My nursing classes definitely feel like information overload a lot of the time, but they have all taught me so much. My favorite nursing class that I’ve taken was Nursing 4. It was a transition phase from the first year of nursing school to the second. I felt this class really helped me grow my critical thinking skills and prioritization of patient care.
What is something you want to accomplish before graduating?
I hope to make a positive impact on the PUC campus in a way that emulates God’s love. Additionally, my goal is to start working as a nurse while I get my BSN next year.
What is something you’ve already accomplished?
I am proud of getting into the nursing program, my work as a coordinator for the collegiate Sabbath school, and my opportunities to connect with students as an RA. I am glad to be involved in campus life because it has taught me skills of leadership, teamwork, and communication I will continue to develop after graduation and into adulthood.
What is your career goal, and why?
I want to get my nurse practitioner license. I chose nursing as a career path because I was drawn to the interactions with patients, the opportunity to better the physical and lifestyle health of individuals, and to be in a setting where I am constantly learning new things.
Okay, final and clearly most important question: Tra Vigne or Villa Corona?
I prefer Tra Vigne over Villa Corona. Though Tra Vigne is more expensive, it has a lot of vegan options such as the make your own pizza, Beyond Burger, and piadinas.
So proud of you Alexis!
What a wonderful and thoughtful interview. Alexis I am so proud to see all of your hard work pay off musically, academically and physically. You also are socially graceful and gratefully appreciated by your friends.