Rosalyn Story ’72
Violinist, Fort Forth Symphony Orchestra

When Rosalyn Story (B.A. ’72) came to UMKC, she had no idea whether she could make her dream to become a professional classical musician a reality.

“The odds were stacked against me,” she says. “At the time, I knew of no African-American violinists who could be role models for me.”

With the help of Professor Emeritus Tiberius Klausner and other faculty members, Story learned more than just how to master her instrument: She learned how to make a career out of music. She was also able to take courses in black literature and black history, which influenced her later work as a writer. Today, she balances two careers — writing and playing violin in the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra.

Story has published several novels, all of which have a musical thread or theme. For her, music and writing are intertwined.

“I use language the same way I do music — it’s all communication,” she says. “There are places that can be reached in the human psyche only through music, where even language fails. And words, because of the sound of vowels, the percussion of consonants, can land on the ear like music.”

Story traces her love of music to growing up in a black church, playing in the high school orchestra and attending shows at Starlight Theatre every summer.

Story says that in her musicianship and her writing, she tries to pass on the lesson she learned from her high school orchestra director: You can do whatever you set your mind to, no matter the odds.

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