Noelle Hogan wanted nothing more than to learn to play the violin hen she was 5. She begged her mom to let her take Suzuki lessons.
Growing up in the Chicago area, she was blessed with many opportunities to play, from Suzuki recitals to youth and pit orchestras to middle and high school orchestras.
In high school, she even played in a quartet with her brother under orchestra conductor and accomplished violist John Fitchuk. While performing all around Chicago, Hogan was also able to save up money earned from these events for college.
“I feel blessed to have been exposed to so many pieces, styles and ensembles growing up,” she says.
While attending Wheaton College, Hogan turned to soccer over orchestra; however, she discovered a different music outlet in the form of students improvising by forming their own bands and writing their own music.
“What fun! We’d dream up elaborate concerts and spend hours hauling equipment around to perform at Wheaton and Calvin Colleges who, at the time, weren’t technically allowed to dance. That rule changed pretty quickly,” she says.
Ever since moving to Buena Vista 22 years ago and marrying McGinnis Middle School science teacher Greg Hogan, she has continued honing her violin skills through four main niches, one of these teaching violin.
Hogan teaches 15 to 20 students at a time, several of whom choose violin as a post-high school job or as part of a college degree. Four to eight of these students move on to become intermediate students and perform in various events around Buena Vista.
“The past 20 years have been my opportunity to give back to my community after years of others investing in my life,” she says. “I have long-lasting relationships with these students once they leave BV for college or other adventures. I want to be an adult in their life who loves them, listens, attends their plays and games and knows their families.”
Her fall student violin recital is set for Saturday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. at ClearView Community Church.
In addition to teaching, Hogan performs at weddings. She books approximately 15 weddings from May to September for weddings and other events not only in this valley but also in Crested Butte, Vail and the Front Range.
“I often hike into or ride ski lifts up to venues, and am asked to learn the strangest songs for ceremonies,” she says. “I enjoy working with brides and bringing live music and joy to each celebration.”
Some of the most popular songs she’s asked to play are Pachelbel’s “Canon in D,” Édith Piaf’s “La Vie en Rose” and Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years.” However, she sometimes gets some more unusual requests.
“I thought it very odd that one bride wanted to walk down the aisle to ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ Not sure what her guests were thinking about the groom at that point,” she says.
For about 14 years, Hogan has played her violin with the Alpine Orchestra.
“It’s wonderful to have a local volunteer orchestra that enjoys playing together and offers the community a delightful local concert experience twice a year,” she says. She adds that the Collegiate Peaks Chorale and Alpine Orchestra joining together for some concerts such as Handel’s Messiah was a highlight of past performances. “Those were powerful and very enjoyable concerts!”
She has enjoyed playing in the orchestra’s many concerts, and she eagerly looks forward to the upcoming fall concert series “Giants!” Nov. 8-10.
The beautiful melodies of Antonin Dvorak’s “Suite in A Major” have become her favorite of this series.
As for favorite music in general, she has a harder time choosing.
“I feel blessed to have so much diversity in styles, pieces and instruments that I get to play throughout a typical week. A few pieces I find myself playing often to enjoy and calm my heart is ‘Meditation’ from ‘Thais’ by Massenet and any Mozart or Vivaldi Concerto in my repertoire.”
She even adds her violin skills to the pit orchestra at the high school musicals. She has played passionately for many of the high school productions. In the spring performance of “High School Musical,” there was no part for a violin, but Hogan still had plenty of fun playing electric bass.
By far her favorite outlet for the violin has been in worship.
For the past 20 years, Hogan has volunteered on the music team at ClearView Church to help serve on Sundays. This has also served as an opportunity for her to learn vocals, bass guitar and acoustic guitar.