Eau Claire Violinist’s Musical Journey


By Ryan Ward | July 11, 2019

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Music is considered by some to be the universal language. A language Rose Vincent has been in tune with for most of her life. “I was 12 years old and my parents said, ‘Well, you get to choose your instrument,'” Vincent said. “And I thought the violin sounded pretty cool.”

It was the start of a lifelong dialogue for Rose. In 2004, she graduated from UW-Eau Claire with a degree in musical performance. Classically-trained, she began performing in local chamber orchestras and started teaching. “I wanted to be a performer and I wanted to learn to improvise,” Vincent said.

While in college, Rose also learned how to maintain and fix her instrument. It would take her down the path of becoming a luthier; someone who fixes and restores old and broken string instruments. “They have to function not just, you know, paint a pretty picture,” Vincent said. “So they have to be able to express when they’re done. That is the goal.”

Rose now works alongside her husband John in their shop in downtown Eau Claire. Together they’ve restored hundreds of violins, some centuries old. “One of the oldest we’ve got rolling right now is 1711 Arman from Augsburg,” Vincent said. “That’s a really neat instrument, and it’s really messed up.”

Rose’s life would change tone again. When she was recruited by a fellow member of the chamber orchestra to fill in for a local bluegrass band. An idea that scared Rose at first. “It’s extremely complex. It’s extremely difficult. It was, in a way, more difficult than playing classical music because it was set out there,” Vincent says. “But to react that quickly and interact with the harmonies that other people are creating, it’s just a really complex dance. Which is really, really neat!”

Rose fell in love with the music. Playing alongside her husband, she now travels the country playing bluegrass. “I found out I loved being on the road. Absolutely loved it,” Vincent says.

Playing bluegrass has also made her a better classically-trained performer as well. “Because there’s such an emphasis on rhythm and collaboration, it just rounded everything out,” Vincent says.

Even when the tempo keeps changing for Rose, the language has always stayed the same.

Ryan Ward

Ryan Ward is a videographer and editor for the “Wisconsin Life” project and can rest easy after he finally found the perfect jar of homemade dill pickles at the farmer’s market in Madison. … just like his Grandma Shirley use to make!
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