Eighteen-year-old Joshua Orr of Findlay has been playing the violin since he was four. Orr’s talents recently led to a win in a local music scholarship competition and have helped him prepare for an ambitious future career in government.
Orr was awarded the Findlay Light Opera Company’s 2014 Eleanor S. Mitchell Performing Arts Scholarship of $1,000. He competed against seven other local musicians in a juried recital, open to the public.
“I entered the competition because I wanted to see how well I compared to some very good musicians in the area, and to see if I could win a scholarship for college,” Orr said. “I performed the best out of all of the competitors that day. I did not in any way anticipate that I would win, so I was quite surprised.”
The recent Findlay High School graduate will be attending the Virginia Military Institute this fall, majoring in International Studies with a minor in Arabic. “My specific future goal is to become an officer in the Unites States Army, and then go into ordinance,” Orr said. “After that, I would like to pursue a career in a government agency situation.”
He has kept himself on track with life and career planning throughout his teen years, largely through musical education and performance. “I have participated in numerous camps, mentoring sessions, master classes, competitions, and concerts since I was eight years old,” Orr said. “I have taken private lessons and I play violin at various restaurants and, during the holidays, I do a lot of different church services.”
He attributes his success to two teachers for showing him persistence and dedication – Carrie Stuckart, who taught him how to fiddle, and introduced Orr to fiddling competitions, and Ioana Galu, who Orr says is a very patient teacher.
Besides his musical gifts, Orr also believes his father’s words and Josh’s own approach to life are the keys to achieving current and future success.
“My dad always said, ‘When your mind is tired, exercise your body. When your body is tired, exercise your mind. When both are tired, eat something and sleep’. My own advice is to just find something you enjoy, and aggressively pursue it. Nothing is handed to you, so if you want something, you are going to need to put in the work in order to achieve your goals.”