Busy is a word that really doesn’t do justice to the life of Sarah Ruzicka, concert master for the Central Oregon Symphony, full-time music teacher, wife and mother of three. Wonder woman is more like it.
Sarah Ruzicka (rhymes with musica) was born in Canada, and raised in Salem, where her life of music began. She speculates that at some young age her choice of violin was influenced by her grandmother, a violinist and concert master for a Canadian
As early as playing in the fourth grade orchestra Sarah began to realize the joy that comes from getting better and better. It wasn’t long before she knew that her future would be driven by violin and music. Through high school she played in the Portland Youth Philharmonic Orchestra and the Salem Orchestra. Feeling not quite ready for college, Sarah enrolled at Mt. Hood Community College for two years of music pre-requisites that help prepare students for more advanced degrees from four year colleges. Then ready and wanting a bit of a change from the Pacific Northwest, Sarah and her boyfriend (to be husband) decided to pursue music education at the University of Miami, where she graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in Music Education. While focusing on becoming a music teacher, Sarah kept her violin practice up by playing in pit-orchestras for pop concerts, fashion shows, ballet performances, even video games…wherever a violin was needed.
After graduation Sarah and her bass-playing husband returned to Salem and then Bend. Fast forward to today where Sarah teaches at High Lakes Elementary School. That can be 11 classes a day, plus two levels of orchestra. Then there’s the two, four and six year olds waiting for her at home. And let’s not forget the symphony, where she takes her job as concert master and section chair very seriously. “The symphony provides me with the musical outlet of my years of learning.” As concert master, Sarah tunes and readies the orchestra. As section leader, she collaborates with other section leaders and with conductor Michael Gesme on stylistic and articulation decisions within the music.
Focusing on the orchestra as a whole, rather than just her performance, makes her, in her own words, “More active in rehearsals and keeps up my expected level of professionalism. It is the collective outcome of my years of learning.”
And how fortunate for Central Oregon to have this wonder woman of music bringing those years of learning to our youth and to our symphony.