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A friendship built on music

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Joan Davison and Judy Baumann sat and embraced one another in praises and well wishes after the Beatrice Regional Orchestra's performance at the Hevelone Center.

Monday night marked Davison's first evening of listening to her Beatrice Regional Orchestra as an audience member rather than a concertmaster, a role she held since the orchestra's inception in 2009.

Kevin Boesiger, conductor of the Beatrice Regional Orchestra, welcomed Davison, 86, on stage in dedicating the concert to her.

After teaching instrumental music for 33 years and conducting orchestras for the surrounding Beatrice community, Davison was warmed with a standing ovation.

"I have the upmost respect for her," Boesiger said. "She is a wonderful musician and we're so thankful for her."

As the retired teacher and concertmaster stood before her fellow string players, she admitted it was different not being a part of the energy on stage.

"Sitting out there wasn't as bad as I thought it'd be," she laughed into a microphone.

With a dozen roses in hand and a book signed with orchestra member names, Davison embraced Baumann, 73, a fellow violin player and the current concertmaster.

Davison and Baumann's friendship sparked long before the two joined to play for their beloved Beatrice audience. The two met when Baumann was only ten years old and hoped to learn the violin. Baumann received her first violin after a neighbor thought her older brother would like to play.

"My older brother could've cared less. I picked it up and tortured my family all summer long," Baumann said through laughs.

Davison, her elementary teacher, agreed to give her lessons.

"If it weren't for her, I wouldn't be here," Baumann said fondly.

Today, the two share a bond they never expected.

"We've enjoyed it, and we're best friends," Davison added.

Over the years, the friends agree that the best part of performing is the energy that comes from the stage.

"My favorite part is making it sound as nice as you can," Davison said.

"The unity. You can feel that," Baumann added.

The two sat and reminisced over concerts shared together. Both recalled the orchestra's spring concert held last May.

"After the last concert of the season, I was just giddy. I felt exhilarated. I had the satisfaction of knowing I had done my best and I got to share that with everyone," Davison said.

"It really is like a family here," Baumann said with adoration.

As the friends reflect on the way music rekindled their friendship through years of teaching, raising families, and growing older, each of them encourage music among young people.

Davison said, "It's an expression you can put to yourself. It's wholesome and pleasant…well, after you know how to do it."

The two laugh together again.

"It's something you can do your whole life," Baumann said.

Davison has retired from her position as violinist and concertmaster for the Beatrice Regional Orchestra, but promises to attend every performance. She openly proclaims her pride in the talents on stage.

"They are fine musicians and it's so great to see young people be a part."

The two exchange glances again.

"I miss her up there," Baumann said.

And while the two friends no longer sit by side to share the energy of the audience and the encompassing melodies that surround them, their bond remains. Like it has for so long, their friendship built on violins and a passion for playing will continue to stand the test of time.

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News editor and staff writer for the Daily Sun.

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