First violinist to play in Sistine Chapel hopes to one day play for the pope

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A small-town farm girl from Manitoba, Canada, and her 300-year-old violin, which was part of King Louis XVI's orchestra, hold an amazing title in the Vatican. Musician Rosemary Siemens was the first violinist ever to play at the Sistine Chapel. As part of the “biggest honor of her life,” the Vatican gifted her a scroll with the title. 

“We were in the Sistine Chapel And literally, they didn't know if it would be allowed until the last minute and but we got I got to play Amazing Grace. And it was like one of the highlights of my career. It was unbelievable. And I a few years earlier, I was actually the first violinist to ever played this at St. Peter's Basilica as well.”

She played “Amazing Grace,” coinciding with her love for Gospel music and church hymns, which make up a majority of her music.

“It's actually turned into a musical ministry - a kind of modern musical ministry - for me. I've always loved hymns and I wrote a song on my last album called, 'Bring back the hymns.' It's just been something on my heart, because I feel like a lot of churches are leaving the hymns and there's so much history and so much beauty in them. I thought I would do my part to bring back the hymns. So I started a 'Sunday hymn serenade.' So people know they can come to my YouTube every Sunday and have a new hymn.”

She has performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, for two U.S. Presidents and Canadian Prime Ministers and has won “Best Country/Gospel Album of the Year.” Yet, she still has one more goal: to play for the pope.

“He was supposed to be at The event at the system but last minute couldn't come. I wish that's a dream. That's a new dream. But hopefully one day it will happen.”

For now, she is happy making history with her Gospel music and touching lives all with a stroke of her violin. 

Melissa Butz

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