Kimberly McDonough honored for orchestral leadership

LIHUE — Kimberly McDonough leads by example, and sets the bar high.

McDonough, 22, a 2013 Island School graduate, was the recent recipient of the Daniel and Clarice Parmelee Prize at Wooster College’s 47th annual Recognition Banquet in Ohio.

She is the daughter of Sharon and Tom McDonough of Lihue.

The award was given to McDonough for her “outstanding leadership and performance” in the Wooster Symphony Orchestra.

“She’s an outstanding violinist and an excellent leader,” said Jeffrey Lindberg, professor of music and music director of the Wooster Symphony Orchestra. “The students look up to her and respect her a great deal. As far as those qualities are concerned, she was one of the top people in the orchestra in consideration for the award. It was kind of an easy decision.”

A skilled violinist, McDonough was born in Hilo before moving to Missouri, where she began playing the violin when she was 5. When she moved to Kauai, she enrolled in Island School as an eighth-grader, and her passion for music and performance only strengthened from that point on.

A senior at Wooster College, she plans to return to Kauai and give back to the community.

“After I graduate, I want to come back to Kauai for a while to live with my parents, and I’m going to play gigs, teach violin lessons and try to finish an original song,” she said. “I want to be an artist.”

McDonough plays at weddings, parties and art walks all around Kauai when she visits her parents in Lihue. Her YouTube channel has over 8,000 subscribers and her videos have racked up over 860,000 views.

One of McDonough’s idols is Lindsey Stirling, a renowned violinist popular for her choreographed routines and unique sound, and she has done a number of covers of Stirling’s songs online.

“I want to be like Lindsey Stirling. She’s made her own genre, she dances on stage. She’s been inspirational to me because I want to do something similar and play all over the world if I can,” McDonough said. “But I know it’s going to take a lot of work.”

Lindberg, who has seen McDonough blossom over the past four years, believes his star pupil can make a name for herself.

“I think she can achieve what she sets out to achieve. I hope she puts a solid effort into it. She certainly has the talent, it’s just a matter of putting in the time to reach her goals,” he said. “When she came here, she had a great tone quality, but now she plays beautifully.”

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