Arts & Entertainment

Performer Profile: Meriam Duncan

by, Jocelyn Visnov, Staff Writer

When was the last time you saw a live performance? If you’re a musician, when was the last time you rehearsed in-person? With the safety precautions put in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19, it’s likely that the last time you were in a crowded room at all was in February or the months prior. Unfortunately, concerts and other live events involving large crowds won’t be returning anytime soon. However, just because we cannot enjoy live music together, does not mean there’s not music to be made. Just ask Meriam Duncan. 

Meriam Duncan is a freshman at Manhattan College. A Spanish major, Duncan came a long way from home to study here at MC. Originally from North Dakota, Duncan lives with her parents and three brothers. Though her parents are not very interested in music, all of her brothers also enjoy playing instruments. Duncan wanted to go somewhere new and exciting for college. 

“I chose Manhattan College because when I toured the campus, everyone seemed so friendly and helpful,” Duncan said. “I wanted to leave North Dakota so that I could have new and different experiences, especially with the diversity found in the city.”

 Duncan first picked up a violin in her home in North Dakota. 

“I remember it in elementary school,” Duncan said. “They brought in all these instruments [to show us] and I just thought the violin was really cool.”

Meriam’s music stand set up so she can play.
MERIAM DUNCAN /COURTESY.

Duncan started learning violin in fifth grade, and has not stopped playing since. Throughout high school, Meriam played in her school orchestra. She also played in the pit band for her school musical productions. And while she spends a lot of time practicing her craft alone, she would not have been able to do it without a little help from her teachers. Merriam’s biggest musical influence was her high school band director. 

“My orchestra teacher Mr. Nelson kept pushing me to practice more, and [told me that] I could get better,” Duncan said.

Throughout her seven plus years playing violin, Meriam has learned a variety of musical pieces. Her preferred style is called Baroque, “It’s like the style of Bach,” Duncan said. 

While Meriam loves what she does, music can be very challenging. It has taken Meriam years of hard practice to become the talented musician she is today.  

“My biggest challenge has been my confidence, and being loud enough for everyone to hear me,” Duncan said. “It’s also challenging to audition.”

In the past, Duncan has auditioned for competitive regional band competitions. She had hoped to gain a seat playing violin at the state level this year, but unfortunately due to the pandemic, the music festival was cancelled.

When Duncan is not playing her violin, she enjoys reading, writing, and doing puzzles.  Though Duncan has not been at Manhattan for very long, she hopes to eventually join a performing arts club on campus to continue playing her violin throughout college.