Friday, November 29, 2013
By day, Mirian Dankovchik is a stay at home mom, caring for her 6-year-old son, Gary, and 2-year-old daughter, Sophia. But on Monday nights she gets a much needed break from her full-time job and goes to Summerville Commuity Orchestra rehearsals.
“Music makes me emotional and happy. Whne you’re there it’s powerful, more than radio or CD. You feel it and it gets into you,” she said.
Dankovchik has been a part of the orchestra for one year and is the group’s only string bass player.
“I think it sounds really beautiful, I like the sound of a bass better than the violin,” she said. Dankovchik originally began her music career in grade school with the violin, but after her middle school orchestra teacher asked all of the students to try the bass, she was hooked.
“I think part of the reason I liked it so much was because I was so good at it,” she said with a laugh. “Much better than I was at the violin. On violin I was like the last chair, but on bass I was first or second.”
Originally from northern Virginia, Dankovchik attended West Virginia University as a string bass performance major. Yet she still doesn’t consider herself a professional.
“I didn’t play for six years,” she said, mentioning how she met and married her husband in college and then started a family.
But in 2008 she purchased her own bass and music has been back in her life ever since.
“Music is a big part of me, and I include it with my kids too. I think it makes a difference when you include it in your life. It helps you with whatever mood you’re in,” she said.
When her family moved to Charleston, Dankovchik said she knew the area’s reputation for the arts and found SCO on the internet.
“I Googled ‘orchestra’ and the first thing that popped up was SCO, so I went for a rehearsal and that was it.”
She said music is more than just a fun activity for her – it’s a family affair.
“My son, I put him in a summer music camp and his teacher said he learns and picks up rhythms really quickly. He took piano lessons this summer and … after the second time of seeing the music he memorizes it.”
The proud mother said her son will probably surpass her musical talents.
“One time he got in trouble at school because he was singing too loud while he was on the computer,” she said with a laugh.
It appears her daughter might have musical genetics, too.
“Every night I sing to her and I guess I never realized how much she pays attention but now she sings along to me.”
But none of this is a surprise to Dankovchik; she came from a musical family herself.
“My mom used to sing in church,” she said. “I have a younger sister, she can play the guitar, and my younger brother can play the electric bass, drums, guitar, he even likes to write his own music. My sister is really good, they’re both very good, but I get the opportunity to actually play.”
Of all of her favorite things about the orchestra, Dankovchik said she likes working with Music Director Alex Agrest the most.
“I enjoy Alex [Agrest, the director.] He definitely knows what he’s talking about and even though we’re all volunteers we do learn a lot. He impresses me.”
If Agrest is her favorite element of the orchestra, then the music is a clear runner-up.
“We’ve played so many things, I keep all of the programs. I keep everything I’ve done with them so I won’t ever forget,” she said. “It’s so much fun and the music we play is not easy but it’s really rewarding. It feels so great to be standing up there on the stage.”