Music and Maxine Wilkins


Lola Barrett

Maxine Wilkins, who has a dad highly involved in music, talks about their journey with music.

Lola Barrett, Guest Writer

Viola, bass guitar, piano: a melting pot of notes resonate in one Ann Arbor household. Sophomore Maxine Walkins, who uses pronouns “she” and “they,” has been a musician since 5 years old. With a father who taught orchestra, their life was filled with extraordinary sound from the start. 

Wilkins plays in the Huron Green orchestra and recently returned at Ann Arbor Orchestra Night for the first time since COVID outbreaks. A sense of anxiety and anticipation lay over the students and crowd alike as they got ready to take the stage, unsure of how it would feel.

“It was kind of a big thing for me because I grew up watching every single orchestra night that my dad conducted,” they said. “Being able to be on the stage and play there on my own is very nerve wracking but very exciting for me.”

Silence, deep breaths held in preparation and finally the bows fell upon their strings. The first strike changed the mood. The piece instantly bridged the players and audience, reaching their hearts. The aching for this environment satisfied at last. 

“Once I actually got there and was playing with everyone on stage, I felt really connected to the people around me and the music we were playing,” Wilkins said. “It feels really good to be apart of something like that.”

As a true jack of all trades, Wilkins also plays bass guitar. They started playing for their church to help out, but it quickly evolved into a passion.

“Viola has such a smooth and rich sound, and it connects me a lot to my dad,” they said. “I appreciate that, but the bass is completely my own and nothing my family has ever done. It makes me feel totally independent and I love that.” 

Wilkins is also an avid listener of music in their down time. When asked to give song recommendations, they were ready with answers. 

“Phineas and Ashe are both great artists,” Wilkins said. “They’re some of my favorites.”

Wilkins continued.

“‘Set Me Free’ by Joshua Basset is really good,” they said. “It’s exactly as it sounds. There’s this very beautiful building chord and it just bursts open and you really do feel free.”