Violinist virtuoso

LIHUE — The shopper from Honolulu was caught aback, stopping to ensure she was not hearing things.

“I don’t believe it,” she said, motionless in the rapidly warming sun in the Kauai Community College parking lot. “This is my favorite type of music, and I can’t believe we have a live performance here at the Kauai Community Market.”

The amplified strains from Olivia Gegen’s violin continued to float with the wind, enveloping shoppers with its magic as they enjoyed their meals under the canopy of tents across from the shopping area.

The daughter of Pat Gegen and Marghee Maupin, who live in Kalaheo, is an eighth grader at Island School. She practices between 45 minutes to an hour each day. Additionally, she has an hour of individual lessons each week and a 90-minute group practice each week.

“She loves it,” said Pat Gegen, who often does double duty as the violinist’s audio technician.

Olivia has been playing the violin for a little more than eight years. Her first violin was a small shoebox with a ruler taped to it, a procedure used to learn proper form for holding the instrument.

This summer, she spent 10 days at Cazadero Music Camp in California. Pat said Olivia has had some fabulous violin teachers on Kauai, including Jeanette Wheable, Kaycee Parker and, currently, Helen Sina.

Olivia plays all kinds of music. She often performs in public, including First Saturday in Kapaa. Despite her youth, she said she is comfortable performing in front of groups and being on stage in plays.

“Once I get started, I almost forget people are watching me,” she said.

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