Chicago violin, viola player paves path for young black musicians

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Robert C. Fisher, who came to Chicago from Mississippi nearly 30 years ago, has devoted his life to music - both as a performer and teacher.

A Chicago violin and viola player is paving the way for young black musicians.

Robert C. Fisher, who came to Chicago from Mississippi nearly 30 years ago, has devoted his life to music - both as a performer and teacher.

"This is my life this is all I do. I enjoy telling people that I'm a black man that makes a living playing the violin," said Fisher said, who has been playing both instruments since he was 9 years old.

He holds a certificate of performance degree from Northwestern University, the highest possible performance degree. He also plays for various groups and orchestras including the Chicago Sinfonietta. In addition to many solo world-premiere performances, Fisher is also is a member of the Chicago Folklore Ensemble.

For nearly 30 years, Fisher has also been teaching music to children of all ages and backgrounds in the city.

"Every musicians wants a major gig, just like every basketball players want to play for the NBA. But we don't all make it and if we don't make it we find things to make our lives complete," Fisher said.

His 12-year-old prodigy Kene Obiaya juggles school, soccer, piano and viola.

"He just makes me remember that I'm here to get better, and make sure that I don't get a big head and start thinking since I'm good I don't have to practice that much," Obiaya said.

Fisher says he will teach anyone who wants to learn. He simply asks them to keep practicing.

"Follow your passion, you can make a living," Fisher said. "It's difficult but you can make a living at it. And if you're really good, you need to go out and break some barriers."
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