Rachael Puls to present senior violin recital
Earns Ohio University scholarship
PARKERSBURG — Rachael Puls of Parkersburg will be presenting her senior violin recital with pianist Jimmy Sundquist at 3 p.m. Sunday at First United Methodist Church at 1001 Juliana St. in Parkersburg.
Rachael began her studies on the violin at the age of 2 and will be attending Ohio University this fall. She received the highest scholarship that OU offers and an out-of-state tuition waiver. She was offered an ambassadorship by the Dean of Music.
Her mother is cellist Cynthia Puls and her father is violinist David Puls.
Rachael, 18, was raised in a musical family. She also was home schooled from kindergarten through 12th grade and graduates this year.
Many might think that Rachael’s hard work and her parents’ guidance are the result that people will hear on Sunday, but it is a shared effort, her parents said.
Rachael is, in fact, the product of the Mid-Ohio Valley, they said. Many visionaries have contributed to Rachael’s success, her parents said.
Rachael began her art experience through the Parkersburg Art Center when in kindergarten. She would participate in three art camps in the summers. The weeks would end with a display of the students’ art work.
Rachael and her parents (sometimes her musician friends as well) performed for their art show.
At the age of 4, Rachael also participated in Smoot Theatre events under the direction of Felice Jorgeson. Jorgeson hosts several student events each year, including the Kids Club, Missoula Theater, Camp Vaudeville and the Children’s Choir.
Rachael attended the Kids Club for several years before she was old enough to audition for Missoula. Rachael began her theater experiences as a first-grader in Missoula’s Children’s Theater in the musical “Cinderella.”
Rachael continued with Missoula until 10th grade when she was Hook in the Missoula production of “Peter and Wendy” that year. She continued with Camp Vaudeville where she shared her violin skills and learned many other art forms such as dancing, singing and acting.
Rachael was part of Camp Vaudeville until the seventh grade. She performed as a vocalist, a vocal soloist and violin soloist from fourth-sixth grade with Barbara Full and Jorgeson until she aged out of the Children’s Choir.
Rachael has benefited from Jorgeson’s work at the Smoot, her parents said.
Rachael is also part of Artsbridge under the direction of Amanda Stevens. Rachael performed alongside her parents as part of the Very Spectacular Arts (VSA) Day, hosted by Artsbridge, for children with disabilities.
Rachael began playing her violin at the age of 2, playing a few songs for a string demonstration and performance for students that attend VSA. Rachael performed this spring for VSA, making this her 16th performance.
Again, Rachael was influenced by Artsbridge and what it brings to this valley, her parents said.
Pianist Jane Irvine has performed for Rachael’s vocal solos and violin solos and has encouraged her musically since she was 5 years old through Artsbridge (Irvine is a former director) and St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Marietta.
Academics in this area have helped encourage Rachael, her parents said. Rachael attended History Camp at The Castle, under the direction of Scott Britton, a week-long event that teaches the history of Marietta, the river, and much more. Rachael learned about leadership and history from The Castle at History Camp. Rachael continued on to Women in the Sciences (WITS) at Marietta College, a week-long experience of math, science and staying in a dorm for an entire week. She attended this event for two summers.
Rachael was part of the founding of the first WVMEA All-State Middle School Orchestra where she auditioned and won assistant principal in the first violin section. She continued through her senior year as part of the WVMEA All-State High School Orchestra and won the assistant and associate principal positions during her high school career.
She won superior ratings at Solo and Ensemble from seventh through 11th grade where she was always recommended for the state recitals. She performed on two state recitals where they take one or two string performers across the state.
Area churches also are a huge part of Rachael’s life, her parents said. She began at St. Andrews United Methodist Church, performing for services, holidays and family events. St. Andrews has a great youth program directed by Shawna Umpleby, her parents said.
“She gives kids the opportunity to participate in wonderful activities with the youth in the community,” Cynthia Puls said. The minister there, Jonathan Nettles, is supportive of the youth in the community and has extended invitations to Rachael to join the church’s youth group.
Rachael has been taught valuable lessons on privilege and thankfulness by having worked in soup kitchens in New York City for two summers with Pastor Ian Reid and his wife, Becca, at First Lutheran Church in Parkersburg, her parents said. Rachael also worked several times in a soup kitchen in Charleston. Rachael has been welcomed by the First United Methodist Church to play there many times with her parents and to hold her recital in its facility. First United Methodist Church has a strong music program under the direction of Jean Singer and organist/pianist Jimmy Sundquist, her parents said. Their church is supportive of local musicians by encouraging recitals and inviting the students to perform in services with them.