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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Violist returns to school to revive musical passion

Music+student+Edens+Kebreau+plays+the+viola+on+NE+Campus.+Kebreau+learned+to+play+the+instrument+as+a+child+but+took+a+job+as+an+insurance+adjuster+later+in+life.+His+love+for+music+never+left+him%2C+he+said.%0D%0ADavid+Reid%2FThe+Collegian
Music student Edens Kebreau plays the viola on NE Campus. Kebreau learned to play the instrument as a child but took a job as an insurance adjuster later in life. His love for music never left him, he said. David Reid/The Collegian

By Kenney Kost/ne news editor

Music student Edens Kebreau plays the viola on NE Campus. Kebreau learned to play the instrument as a child but took a job as an insurance adjuster later in life. His love for music never left him, he said.
David Reid/The Collegian

Sometimes, life takes priority over passion. Career choices are made with financial stability in mind.

And sometimes, life has a way of providing people a second chance to pursue their passions.

NE and NW student and viola player Edens Kebreau took an opportunity later in life to pursue a music degree, something he has felt tugging at him since getting his psychology degree in 1997. After getting his degree, he worked as a claims adjuster with an insurance company but felt music was something he had to do for a living.

“It is just one of those things I have to do, you know,” he said. “I was handling claims and making a lot more money, but I just love music so much, and I always wanted to do this as a living. Honestly, I couldn’t live with myself. It sounds weird, but it’s just one of those things I have to do music. It’s who I am.”

Kebreau recently took a music director’s job with the Christian Center in Haltom City. He said after explaining his situation to them, they agreed to allow him the time to start taking classes at TCC.

“I didn’t know much about the music program here until I started and realized we have some great instructors, but affordability was honestly one of the major factors in coming here,” he said. “I don’t regret it. If I were to do it again, I would start right here at TCC.”

His love of music came from his days in Boston while in a program called Project Steps.

“I was 13 years old and got the opportunity to be in a minority program that paid for private string, theory and piano lessons,” he said. “So I had that for about two years. Like an idiot back then, I didn’t care about all that and decided to leave the program. I have regretted it ever since and think about it everyday. So my inspiration to come back was to make up for what I had lost.”

Last spring, Kebreau took music reading with NE music instructor Stan Paschal. Early on in the semester, Paschal noticed that Kebreau was picking up on the theory faster than most of the other students in the class and started speaking with him about his experience with music.

“I always try to make a habit of asking students if they play instruments or are in a band or choir, and he told me about his experience as a child playing the viola,” Paschal said. “He said he played up through high school and then sort of abandoned it or put it aside, so I introduced him to Dr. [Hsinyi] Wang, and he began taking lessons.”

He started out with a non-music-major lesson, which is a little less demanding, to judge his status on the instrument and make a decision whether to go forward.

“I told him when he was taking the non-major lesson that the requirements for the music major lessons were a lot more difficult and he needed to spend a lot more time and energy to do that,” said NE music instructor Wang. “This is his first semester as a viola major, and I think he is handling it quite well.”

Though there is about a 30-year gap from Kebreau’s time playing as a teenager to now, Wang said, the foundation and technique were basically there, just a bit rusty. She doesn’t believe this will hold him back much, however, because his biggest strength lies beyond skill and technique.

“I actually believe his strongest point is the life experiences he accumulated through all these years,” she said. “As a father of four kids with a job, wife and family, there is a delicate balance of work, study and what he wants to do as a musician. So whenever he plays a simple melody, there is so much more meaning to it.”

Kebreau said he owes his quick recovery of skill on the viola to Wang and plans to continue his lessons with her for the duration of his time at TCC.

“She is like a mom,” he said. “She wants what is best for you, and she pushes you. She sets up a standard and says this is what I expect from you, and it’s up to you to live up to that.”

Kebreau’s long-term goal is to get his master’s in music and return to the community college setting as teacher. He said he enjoys the atmosphere of a community college over a university because of the opportunity to give back.

“You’re going to reach students like me, I think – students who are kind of further along in life as far as knowing what they want out of life,” he said. “I want to be in that mix to help them. I want to be here for them, just as they are here for me.”

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