We want to showcase the students who have crossed paths in the Texas Tech University School of Music; past, present, and FUTURE! In this story, we are celebrating the musical journey of current violin graduate student, Cassidy Forehand.
Raised in Abilene, Texas, Cassidy began her music journey 13 years ago. She started playing the violin in her 6th grade orchestra class. When starting high school, Cassidy began performing and touring with a fiddle group, Revolution Strings, that drew her interested in non-classical styles of music. She decided that her diverse relationship with music was a never-ending relationship. “As I got closer to graduating high school, I realized that music was not something that I wanted to let go of as I graduate and go to college, so I decided to continue my musical journey in my collegiate studies.”
For her undergrad, Cassidy decided to leave West Texas and attend Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee to study a degree in violin performance. When finishing her undergraduate studies, she realized there was so much more that she wanted to learn about violin playing and music. Her undergraduate violin professor, Elisabeth Small, encouraged her to set up a Zoom meeting with Professor Boyle as she was looking into graduate schools. After trial lessons and auditions at several schools, working with Professor Chalex Boyle and Texas Tech University School of Music was her favorite!
Photo Credit: Eric Valle
During her time here, Cassidy has enjoyed participating in the diverse ensembles in Lubbock: University Symphony Orchestra, Celtic Ensemble, various String Quartets, and the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra. Her greatest memory was her first Lubbock Symphony concert. “The concert included Beethoven's 9th Symphony and was my first time playing in the new Buddy Holly Hall. The concert was particularly fulfilling because it was the first in-person concert that I was able to give, post-pandemic, and was the first concert that I gave after moving to Lubbock.”
Most recently, Cassidy had the opportunity to perform 8 shows with the Anastasia, Broadway touring show in the Schuster Performing Arts Center in Dayton, Ohio. A friend she has known since her undergraduate studies, tours with the production full time. From an invitation from her friend, Cassidy was invited to perform as a substitute. “All musicians in the show can accrue personal time, for which they need to recommend a substitute who could join the tour, in their absence. It was an amazing experience to perform on the tour. All of the cast and musicians are extremely talented, and I was honored to be able to perform with them.”
In our interview with Cassidy, she shares with us more about her Broadway tour experience:
“Several months before the show, I was sent the music to begin practicing. Since I was still balancing my usual practice schedule and recital preparation, the Anastasia music ended up becoming a practice motivator for me. Because the music was so much fun to play, it was tempting to practice it all the time, instead of my usual repertoire. I eventually developed a routine where, after practicing my technique, repertoire, and orchestra music for a given amount of time, I would reward myself by practicing the Anastasia book. After I finished my recital, I had more time to devote to really getting comfortable with the music in the show.”
Photo Credit: Cassidy Forehand
“I joined the tour right after TTU's spring break, so I had more time to learn the music over the break. The violinist on the tour also sent me a list of notes for the show, indicating where the conductor takes time or speeds up, the locations of quick page turns, as well as notes about the cast. There are understudies and swings who fill in for certain roles in the show, so the timing varies depending on who is performing on any given night. When I arrived in Dayton, I was able to observe one show from the pit, so that I was able to get a feel for some of the conductor's cues and how everything would feel. The next day, I was able to sit down with the violinist and ask him any questions that I had. The following night I began performing in the shows!”
Getting to know the other musicians and cast members is her favorite memory on the tour. “On a tour like this, everybody spends a lot of time together. Between traveling, eating meals, socializing, and playing the show, everybody spends most of their time together. I really enjoyed being able to make friends with other musicians who share my love of music and performing.”
Cassidy will be graduating her master's in violin performance this Spring 2023. Because of the valuable memories made here in Lubbock, Cassidy has decided to continue academia and was accepted to study her DMA in violin performance in the Texas Tech University School of Music in the Fall 2023. After finishing academia, she hopes to continue playing professionally along with teaching privately!
Congratulations to Cassidy and her teachers on her musical accomplishments!