Sara Kaplan, Violin

Sara is playing in Prometheus by accident. Or rather because of an accident.

More about that in a minute. In elementary school, Sara planned to play flute, but then she heard Jascha Heifetz play (for non-violinists, many consider him the finest violinist of all time). “I wanted to play like that!” So violin it was. Sara lived in Arcadia, California, which had a very good school music program. She had lessons and played in orchestras all the way through high school, with the help of enthusiastic parents.

Then it was off to UC Santa Barbara for a degree in Botany and, while there, like many of us, she was just too busy to play. On to Michigan State for a master’s degree in Plant Genetics with plans for a doctorate. After she completed her master’s degree, Sara went for an afternoon horse ride. It was a ride that changed her life. She fell off the horse and suffered a traumatic brain injury. “I was unconscious for two months. The doctors told my parents that IF I woke up, the best they could hope for was that I’d be able to feed myself.” Well, Sara woke up alright. And woke up incredibly stubborn and determined. She learned to walk and talk and do everything all over again. It was six years of intense physical, speech and occupational therapy.

Sara married her boyfriend Bob (“we met at Michigan State and he never gave up on me”) and they moved to Texas while he worked on a post doc at Texas A&M. While there, Sara decided to get another master’s degree there, this time in Horticultural Therapy, combining her knowledge and love of plants with what she had learned about therapy. They then moved to the Bay Area, where Bob worked in Biotech.

“My dexterity was still terrible and my physical therapist suggested I play violin again. I found a teacher to work with me, but she couldn’t quite teach someone like me.” Still, she persevered. Sara played in the Oakland Community Orchestra and in 2007 met Victor Varrial (a Prometheus violin alum) who suggested she take lessons from Eric Hansen.

“Exactly what I needed! If I can’t do something the ‘right’ way Eric finds an alternative way for me to do it. He always finds a back door into the music for me. I asked him about joining Prometheus and he kindly told me I’d need to get a lot better!” Being the determined person she is, she practiced and practiced and practiced. And in 2013, she was ready. “If I hadn’t had that accident, I don’t think I would have played violin after college. I’m having fun now and that’s the main point of playing.” And we expect her to have fun—and be determined—for years to come!

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