Registered Nurse by Night, Section Violinist by Day
Jennifer Stevens finds success at work and at play.
Jennifer Stevens isn’t the type of person who likes to be in the spotlight. But her talents both personally and professionally put her there.
Jennifer, a Registered Nurse who works nights on Medical Telemetry at Renown South Meadows Medical Center, was named the 2014 Northern Nevada Nurse of Achievement Rookie of the Year. But her talents aren’t just confined to work – she also is a section violinist in the University of Nevada Symphony Orchestra.
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“Playing music is the mental vacation I get to take and completely deactivate my nursing brain and think about something completely different,” she explains.
Growing up in a small town in Utah, Stevens started playing music when she was four or five. She found an old, beat-up violin in her mom’s closet and by high school she was the concert master of the orchestra. “My junior year I moved to Reno, and the high school orchestra was quite a bit better than the orchestra that I came from,” she says.
Her music took a detour in 2002 when she traveled to Thailand to teach English for six weeks. Those six weeks turned into five-and-a-half-years, and during that time the humidity wreaked havoc on her instrument and bow and she rarely played.
When she returned to the United States, she decided to follow a dream she had since high school and applied for Nursing School at UNR. Stevens was working four jobs at the time, taking a full load of classes at TMCC and needed a one-credit class to stay active at UNR. But all the classes she tried to add were full.
“I didn’t even think of a music class at first,” she explains. “But I decided to sign up for violin lessons and was placed with Brune Macary, a tremendous talent from France.” Stevens took the lessons for the semester, worked hard over the summer and auditioned for the orchestra in the fall. “I didn’t think I’d actually make it,” she recalls. “It’s such an honor to get to play with the orchestra.”
During her time with the UNR Symphony Orchestra, Stevens has been a part of world-premiering two pieces. Her favorite concert was performing Shostakovich’s Tenth Symphony. “Shostakovich is the pinnacle of difficult. He’s so hard emotionally and technique-wise that I never thought I’d be able to play a major work of his,” she relates. “It was a life goal of mine.”
As for her future in music, she’d like to eventually audition for the Reno Philharmonic. “I’m still an amateur right now, and I have a lot to learn,” she says. “But, I’m getting better all the time.”