Kaori Marikawa, 18, gets in her practice time on the violin on Pebble Lake in Troy.

Kaori Marikawa, 18, gets in her practice time on the violin on Pebble Lake in Troy.

Photo provided

Violinist makes music on the water at Pebble Lake in Troy

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published July 7, 2020


TROY — Kaori Marikawa, 18, of Troy, attends high school in Bloomington, Indiana. An accomplished violinist, she arrived home this spring unexpectedly due to the coronavirus shutdown.

She practices her violin, which she has played since age 6, for two hours every day.

Stuck at home, she said, she struggled to keep her positive spirit up. She and her mother, Yoko, and her father, Ken, immigrated from Japan five years ago.

“My violin always brings me up when I’m down, in particular in the Stay Home months,” she said via email.

During her practice sessions at her home, more and more people would stop to listen in front of their home on Pebble Lake, a private lake in the John R and Square Lake roads area.

“I know music is a great help when you feel down and depressed, because I love music and my violin is my best friend,” she said in an email.

She said many people thanked her when they met her during the 7 a.m. jogs around the neighborhood she does with her mother. She said neighbors also sent cards and flowers to her home, saying, “We love your music,” she said.

After she played the “Star-Spangled Banner” outside for neighbors on Memorial Day, some suggested she play outside more often, and they encouraged her to play on the lake for them. A neighbor offered pedal boats.

So starting June 1, she has been playing the violin on the lake from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30-9 p.m. every night, weather permitting, and pedaling a boat when she’s not playing. Her mother takes up pedaling when Marikawa plays.

Marikawa said she’s played “Amazing Grace,” “My Heart Will Go On,” “You Raise Me Up,” “Silent Night” and Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” on the lake.

Neighbor Jay Reynolds, who retired from the Troy Police Department after 33 years on the force, said hearing Marikawa’s unexpected music was a “reprieve.”

“In the middle of a pandemic, to sit in your backyard and hear a Scottish marching song — it caught my attention because it was my college fraternity song,” he said.

He attended the University of Detroit in the 1960s.

“It caught us absolutely off guard,” he said. “In the middle of a pandemic, it’s just such a pleasant relief. She’s a tremendous violinist.”

Reynolds said that during a family gathering at his home, he told his family, “My quarantine is better than your quarantine. We so appreciate this young lady sharing her talent and gift at a time of sequester — it brought joy.”

Neighbor Donna Barlow, a Realtor, also enjoys Marikawa’s music.

“It just reaches out to you. I never thought a violin could be so affecting. When she played ‘The Star-Spangled Banner,’ everyone stood up as she approached,” Barlow said. “We get home and we just sit and listen.”

She said that when her grown sons recently visited, they were amazed and said, “How great is this?”

“We look forward to this every night. Any little piece of something like this, we appreciate. We like it so much here,” Barlow said.

Marikawa said she plans to continue her nightly concerts through August, when she hopes to return to high school.

“I love sharing the music, spreading happiness in pandemic time and the neighbors’ applause,” she said. “They (neighbors) say ‘we love your music. You bring happiness.’”

Marikawa won the 2018 Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association violin solo and ensemble medal, and was the first chair violinist for the Oakland Youth Orchestra.

Marikawa plans to perform this summer on other private lakes in the John R and Square Lakes roads area: 6:30-7:20 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at Walker Lake; 6:30-7:20 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at Emerald Lake; and 6:30-7:20 p.m. Sundays at Sandshores Lake.