Nikki Rinsema, Concertmaster for the Pops Orchestra, Joins the Club

Nikki Rinsema, Concertmaster for the Pops Orchestra, Joins the Club

After a 21 month hiatus, the Pops Orchestra is back and ready to bring you our first concert of the season, Sgt. Presley and the Pops Pay Tribute to Our Nation's Veterans, starring Elvis tribute artist Ted Torres Martin.

Join conductor Robyn Bell as she interviews Pops Orchestra concertmaster Nikki Rinsema on her life, her family (two of which also play for the Pops!), and why the Pops Orchestra is such a special organization to her.

You have two opportunities to see this fabulous show:
1. Sunday, November 14 at 3:00 p.m. at the Riverview Performing Arts Center in Sarasota
2. Monday, November 15 at 7:30 p.m. at the SCF Neel Performing Arts Center in Bradenton

Get your tickets by going to Pops Orchestra website or through the Suncoast Culture Club Calendar of Events page.

Bust out of your Jailhouse Rock, dust off those G.I. Blues, and come have a wonderful time with us, Elvis, and our area's veterans. We'll see you at the show!

• Nikki Rinsema Facebook

• Nikki, Annie, and Wrigley Rinsema Performing for One Republic's Video Better Days

• Ted Torres Martin, Elvis Tribute Artist Website & Facebook & Instagram

The Pops Orchestra of Bradenton and Sarasota Website & Facebook & Instagram

Venice Symphony Website & Facebook & Twitter & YouTube

• Anna Maria Island Concert Chorus and Orchestra Website

• Pier 22 Restaurant Website & Facebook & Instagram

• Asolo Repertory Theatre Website & Facebook & Instagram & YouTube

Sarasota Orchestra Website & Facebook & Instagram & TwitterYouTube

State College of Florida Music Program Website & Facebook & Instagram

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Robyn Bell: Are there any words to express how excited I am about our topic today? The Pops Orchestra last had a concert on Monday, February 17th, 2020 at Patriot Plaza. And finally this weekend on Sunday, November 14th and Monday, November 15th, 2021. Folks that is 21 months later, we are back in business and ready to bring Sarasota and Bradenton are much anticipated and highly awaited annual veterans day concert this year with Elvis tribute artists, Ted Torres Martin, it is going to be an event like you have never seen in here to talk with me about it is our concert master for the Pop's violinists. Ms. Nikki Rinsema Nikki. Welcome to the club. 

Nikki Rinsema: Great to be here. 

Robyn Bell: Now. Full disclosure, Nikki, and I don't want you to think you are any second fiddle here. No pun intended, but our Elvis Ted Torres Martin is performing on a cruise ship and didn't have enough internet strength to talk to me for the podcast. But nonetheless, I'm very excited to get to visit with you today. 

Nikki Rinsema: Likewise. 

Robyn Bell: So Nikki, tell us a little bit about yourself. When did you first start playing the violin? 

Nikki Rinsema: I started kindergarten and I started violin. I kindergarten kindergarten, I went to a school where you didn't have to do it. It wasn't required, but you could sign up for the music program. And I actually was pulled out of my kindergarten classes for private lessons 

Robyn Bell: this would have been six, seven years old, 

Nikki Rinsema: five, 

Robyn Bell: five. Okay. 

Nikki Rinsema: And we had group lessons every week. It was a Suzuki program. 

Robyn Bell: Okay. Suzuki is where you kind of learned to play my ear before you learned to read music.

Nikki Rinsema: Yes. 

Robyn Bell: Kind of like how we learned. 

Nikki Rinsema: Probably 

Robyn Bell: we learned to talk before we learned to read words. 

Nikki Rinsema: Yes. 

Robyn Bell: It's the same concept, 

Nikki Rinsema: right? It's supposed to establish a strong, fundamental ear and musicality is the whole reason behind the method 

Robyn Bell: seemed to work well for you. 

Nikki Rinsema: I think it did. However. Skills aren't always the best. So our teachers have modified. 

Robyn Bell: Okay. So what part of the country were you in? 

Nikki Rinsema: That was in Massachusetts. In a small town. Just outside of Worcester. 

Robyn Bell: Okay. So you're from the Northeast. And then, so you're in kindergarten, you go through elementary school, just kind of doing group lessons and private lessons 

Nikki Rinsema: and some orchestra. started playing an orchestra, I think when I was in second grade. It was a school program. So, and by the time I went through high school, a lot of kids in my high school, one went to Oberlin, someone to Eastman Ithaca with some really great conservatories, new England conservatory. We did a lot with the new England conservatory there 

Robyn Bell: and this created, um, I'm sure a lot of competition and. all of you and your classmates probably drove each other to get better and better, better all through high school. 

Nikki Rinsema: Yes.

Robyn Bell: And so where did you end up going to college? 

Nikki Rinsema: I didn't want to do the conservatory route. I wasn't sure that I really wanted to have a performance, 

Robyn Bell: a performance career. 

Nikki Rinsema: Yeah, I performing well, and honestly like the Pops is such a great landing spot for me because I, I just never wanted to invest myself fully into the classical. And of, music and performance with violin. So I didn't want to go to conservatory. I went to a small private Christian college on the south west side of the city called Trinity Christian college. I chose that because. It had a community that I liked, but it was right outside Chicago. And I had all the benefits of being by that city. I had a teacher who was phenomenal there, a private instructor who taught me and. His schedule and the way he taught was pretty demanding in which I had to do recitals every semester. It wasn't just to, for my whole college career, I had a recital every semester that I had to get up. 

Robyn Bell: And if it was a small school where you kind of the big man on campus, you came in and concert master. That kind of thing. 

Nikki Rinsema: Well, yes and no, it was, just a small string ensemble and there were other very good players. But I would say I was the one that had probably the most drive and the most experience there, but the person in charge of the story. Ensemble didn't know much about strings.

Robyn Bell: Oh, 

Nikki Rinsema: he was a trumpet player. 

Robyn Bell: I see a pattern in your life here. 

Nikki Rinsema: And I married a trumpet player. I can't get away.

Robyn Bell: Oh my goodness. I'm so sorry. 

Nikki Rinsema: That's fine. So if I've chosen at all, 

Robyn Bell: so your family, stayed in the north east and you traveled in, packed your bags, moved to Chicago. 

Nikki Rinsema: I had some extended family in Chicago. 

Robyn Bell: Okay. So that was probably another reason to look at that school. And when you were in college there and getting your training, were you able to do. It advantage of all the big cities. Chicago has Chicago symphony and all of that good stuff 

Nikki Rinsema: and I would go to a lot of the performances. I was also there. I did a lot of. 

Robyn Bell: Uh, you were a singer. 

Nikki Rinsema: I was 

Robyn Bell: okay. 

Nikki Rinsema: But not as much anymore. I had, I had choral scholarships. 

Robyn Bell: Wow. 

Nikki Rinsema: So I wanted a real well-rounded and that's why I didn't go into conservatory because when you do a conservatory, you're really focused on one thing. And I was interested in a lot of different things. I even played percussion in college. 

Robyn Bell: Are you an Alto singer? 

Nikki Rinsema: Yes, 

Robyn Bell: I would have guessed actually I did guest. And so you graduated from Trinity Christian school. And, what was your degree in 

Nikki Rinsema: general? Music and English. I had an English major as well.

Robyn Bell: Wow. Okay. Did you get a job right away? 

Nikki Rinsema: Well, while I was in school and this was the wonderful thing about my teacher is that, he had a waiting list for his private lessons. And so I taught his waiting list while I was in college. And I paid a lot of my colleagues. By teaching private lessons and my roommates are slaving away at, you know, $4 an hour jobs. And I'm teaching lessons. 

Robyn Bell: Tax-free yeah, I did the same thing. I had like 32 private trumpet students when I was in college and it was, you know, a kid would come in for a 30 minute lesson. I'd get $7. I think I ended at 10 50. I kept going up on the price and it was better than slinging hash. And I never claimed it as income. Don't tell the IRS

Nikki Rinsema: I won't okay because I didn't either, but it, what it allow for me was to step in right after college. I had my own studio already set and ready to go and have pieced together. I had a part-time teaching job at a school and I had a church job and I just had. what so many of us have. 

Robyn Bell: Yeah. You piece it together, 

Nikki Rinsema: piece, this music crew together,

Robyn Bell: very entrepreneurial. We have to be,

Nikki Rinsema: you have to hustle. 

Robyn Bell: Yeah. And one of the things I want to talk about with you in this podcast is that for this concert and for really this season, we have you as our concert master. But part of the deal is we got to have your children that also play. So before we talk about them, we have to back it up because somewhere along the way, you met a nice young man and got married. So tell us 

Nikki Rinsema: in college. 

Robyn Bell: Okay. So you met Nathan, was he a student at the same school? 

Nikki Rinsema: Yes. And he was trumpet first trumpet in the band and I played percussion.

Robyn Bell: And who's that who's that cute trumpet player or maybe he was more likely to. Can I percussionist. All right. Yep. So it was love at first sight in the band room. It's the age old story, 

Nikki Rinsema: right?

Robyn Bell: Yes.

Nikki Rinsema: I feel like it is, 

Robyn Bell: but he did not go on to be a musician. No, no. Can you imagine your life? If he had gone on to be a musician?

Nikki Rinsema: We actually used to do weddings together all the time. Oh yeah. When we were up in Chicago, living there, he would play trumpet. I would play violin. We had an organist that we worked with too, and we get hired to do all kinds of weddings. We never fought so much as when we were playing weddings together.

Robyn Bell: This is not good for our marriage. So he, gives up playing the trumpet. He has gone on into a career. It is that the best way to explain it? 

Nikki Rinsema: It's the best way. I know how he has a full-time job that he does, where he has a government contractor. It's still where he worked. When we lived in Chicago, he is contracted by department of Homeland security to do cybersecurity work. So when you watch those movies or you watch like 24 or anything like that, he's the computer nerd that gets kidnapped and they have to rescue them. That's how I describe it. 

Robyn Bell: Got it. 

Nikki Rinsema: There was actually one season of 24 where that happened. That character was doing. My husband's exact job. And he was the only one who knew all these secrets and , we had to turn off. He's like there are 300 people that work on that project. 

Robyn Bell: Oh yeah. It was not very true to life. No. So you meet Nathan, you get married, you stop playing weddings. He gets a job. You have three wonderful children. Your oldest one is now in college and she played a little piano. Did you tell me what one. 

Nikki Rinsema: Well, she, yes, she still does. 

Robyn Bell: Okay. All right. And then you have your second child, Annie, who also like you plays violin.

Nikki Rinsema: Yep. 

Robyn Bell: Annie is in, I'm going to guess ninth grade. 

Nikki Rinsema: Exactly. 

Robyn Bell: Oh God. It was good. Yes. She's about at the end he looked a lot like me when I was in the ninth grade of the mometer. Yeah. You know, she is skinny and blonde hair and. Yeah, full of life. And then you have a little boy Wrigley name because you were in Chicago Cubs fans. I love that. And he plays the cello and Wrigley I'm going to guess is in seventh grade. 

Nikki Rinsema: Yes. 

Robyn Bell: Oh my God. I'm two for two. And 

Nikki Rinsema: for three, you guess the oldest one 

Robyn Bell: too. Oh yeah. But somehow I knew that, I guess, because I follow you on Facebook. I took her to college. That's a little easier to do a student that's in college versus a ninth grader and a seventh grader. And they are both students at Bradenton Christian school and they play in the orchestra there. Yup. Yup. And when this season was about to start course, we'd, haven't been doing anything since COVID do you, did we did a outdoor chamber music series. You played in the street. But you said, you know, life would be easier if I could bring them with me on Monday night and they play in the orchestra. And I just loved that because the whole thing for the Pops, our whole philosophy is it is a community orchestra led by professional musicians. And I think our oldest player. 87 and then to have a seventh grader in there and a ninth grader in the mix, you know, this is what it's about to teach these young students that this is lifelong music making. And, you know, we haven't talked about this, but I hope Annie and Wrigley who are sitting, I mean, Annie sits next to Dr. Altenau, who's a podiatrist in Brayden and you can sit there and say, oh, here's someone that learned to play. The violin went on, has an kind of normal job and then comes once a week. Plays the violin because he just loves doing it and plays the concert. And here's Wrigley and the cello section also sitting amongst all these adults. And have they expressed to you, so sort of the concept or what this is like for them?

Nikki Rinsema: Well, I've talked to the two ladies that sit in the stand in front of them. And I said, if he starts playing like, well, Robyn's talking, you know, he's messing around. Turn around and put your bow on his knee and tell him, knock it off. Cause he can sometimes be like that. And they said, oh, he's such a star. We could never do that. I was like, no, he needs people in his life. Like 

Robyn Bell: set him straight. 

Nikki Rinsema: Right. He doesn't believe me what I tell them. 

Robyn Bell: Right. But I don't think there's been any issues 

Nikki Rinsema: now. I think he's been. 

Robyn Bell: Yeah, but what are the kids think about playing with all these adults? Because they've only been in student groups up until now. Right? 

Nikki Rinsema: Right.

Robyn Bell: Yeah. 

Nikki Rinsema: And I think they're getting their feet wet right now. I think after the shows this weekend, they will have a little bit more excitement about it. They were very excited when we started talking about it. I think my favorite part was when we'd be listening to songs, like from a movie and Wrigley said, we could play this with the Pops couldn't we? And like, he just, he honestly started listening to music differently and thinking about, yeah, I could actually perform this and 

Robyn Bell: that. Interesting. 

Nikki Rinsema: Yeah. And Annie introspectively, I think thinks the same way. , But it was very intimidating that first rehearsal Wrigley said, everything went so fast. I just watched it 

Robyn Bell: my whole two and a half hours flew. Why, where did that go? 

Nikki Rinsema: Yeah. And it's great. And that's the experience I wanted them to have because every other group. Two or three songs, a couple of months, 

Robyn Bell: 13 or 17 or something crazy

Nikki Rinsema: in four or five rehearsals. And they've got to be able to keep up. 

Robyn Bell: Are they practicing? Do you hear a really nice

Nikki Rinsema: practice with them? 

Robyn Bell: Having two of your three kids there? Has it changed your experience in the orchestra? Do you find yourself a little like, okay. How's Andy and Wrigley doing, or are you just totally focused on being the concert master? 

Nikki Rinsema: While I'm in there. I'm focused on being concert master. It's getting them out the door, getting them there on time. The first day, guys, I it's my responsibility to be here. You are making me late with slow. You are. And then, the nice thing last week, I started this, Annie has to put away my chair and my stand, and then I'll take her for ice cream afterwards. 

Robyn Bell: Aw, listen, if I put away your chair and stay, will you take me for ice cream afterwards? And he's got a good deal. What does regularly you have to do to get ice cream, 

Nikki Rinsema: just get out the door on time, 

Robyn Bell: much lower standards. And it was funny after we. First rehearsed, Viva Las Vegas, right? Because there's that tune in Viva Las Vegas, that sort of thematic and you sent me a text message and you said Annie and Wrigley, both separately said it sounds like a Mario brothers game. They, at first I had no idea what you were talking about, and then you sent me a link and I listened to it on YouTube. They totally ripped off Elvis. 

Nikki Rinsema: Yeah. Coconut mall. That's what it is. Coconut coconut mall level of Mario cart. We. It is it's exactly. 

Robyn Bell: That was a foreign language. When I first read it, I go, what in the world is she talking about? But then I understood when you sent me the link and how neat that these young kids kind of play these video games, then recognize the tune that they're playing in an orchestra, or they hear the woodwind players doing it over and over and over. And they were right. It's totally the same. 

Nikki Rinsema: It's their favorite song

Robyn Bell: because they have a connection to it. this year is different experience with your kids playing with you, but you sorta touched on this, but what, makes the Pops Orchestra kind of a special group for you to play with? 

Nikki Rinsema: it's a couple of things. It's the music. I just, I just enjoy this thoroughly. I enjoy classical music. And I was trained classically. I do. I enjoy playing that, but. I just thrive with this. This is just what I love. This is what I like to listen to in my own personal time. 

Robyn Bell: You're not going to turn out on a Mozart opera or a Beethoven string quartet. No, yeah, yeah, no, you could play it.

Nikki Rinsema: Yep. But I'm not going to listen to it my free time. 

Robyn Bell: Yeah. But you might listen to love me Tender. Well, it's the style of listening to it. It's the more modern music that speaks to us. I think the same for me. I really enjoy. the rhythms and having a drum set and the bass and the, kind of music that I grew up. I mean, I grew up in Texas. It was kind of Garth Brooks and George straight, but. It took me a while to get used to like sitting and listening to a Beethoven symphony where I'd much rather sit and listen to the style of music that we play. Totally agree with that.

Nikki Rinsema: It's just feels so much more engaging. Right? It feels more engaging with the audience. It feels mortgages. And then the artists that come in to be able to engage with them. It's just that experience. I really enjoy that. And it's just fun. I think the other thing that is so special to me is that I've played in a few different. And 

Robyn Bell: around town or you just be

Nikki Rinsema: like Venice symphony AMICCO, and they're all paid everybody there is paid.

Robyn Bell: Yes. Not the case in the Pops.

Nikki Rinsema: No. And the people that are coming like you were talking about Dr. Al. He's choosing to do that after working all day in his office and looking at people's feet, 

Robyn Bell: cutting toenails and digging up onions,

Nikki Rinsema: which that makes sense now, but you know, like they just have such a joy to be there.

Robyn Bell: Yeah. 

Nikki Rinsema: And it's a community that I love to be a part of. And

Robyn Bell: even your stand partner, Maggie Kirkland, Dr. Kirklin, she's a dentist in Bradenton. She's looking at teeth and filling cavities and doing root canals. And if she shows up, 

Nikki Rinsema: those are the two, thanks for me. Feet T and they're some of our most committed members of the Orca, 

Robyn Bell: they would never miss a rehearsal. They're never late. They never miss a concert. And. You think about, I mean, professional players that get trained and I'm going to do this for a living, but we have some really talented amateur community music makers amongst us in, , we're now to the point where, when somebody wants to join the Pops, we make them go through an audition. And when it's a violinist, I always invite you to come listen to the audition. And aren't you just amazed at the level of these players that come in?

Nikki Rinsema: Yeah. Yeah. And from all over too, and that, I think that's one of just playing in this area that I've experienced, getting to play. And some of the other groups too, and in this group with people that have performed all over the country and their experiences and being able to share, 

Robyn Bell: I was in a community orchestra in Indianapolis, I was in a community orchestra in Wisconsin and yeah. And they bring a lot to the table. Yeah. most of the times they show up from and rehearsal and they got, can't take this conductor. No, no kidding. They don't. I often wonder though, cause we have in the Bradenton symphony, we have a new bass player that just moved here from lake Geneva, Wisconsin. And his first rehearsal was last Wednesday and been the back of my mind. Cause I don't really know where they've come from and I think at the end of the rehearsal, I wonder if what he just experienced is a normal experience for him because I do things a little differently. Yeah, 

Nikki Rinsema: well, every conductors, yes. So, I enjoy your leadership. Nope. Well, very much. 

Robyn Bell: Well, that's not where I was going with it, but, but, but thank you for that. But I do often wonder new people where they come in at the end of a rehearsal. Do they go what? Just hit me or do they go, this is a lot of fun or do they say seriously? I don't know. You could have a lot of different answers. 

Nikki Rinsema: The first rehearsal. This is a lot of fun. 

Robyn Bell: Okay, good. That's good to know. And you told me one time. That your husband, Nathan really hates going to concerts even as a trumpet player, but he is like a champion for the Pops. Right. 

Nikki Rinsema: He sells it to all our friends. 

Robyn Bell: Right. He's like, you kind of go, these are my blood. Yeah. Yeah. And now he doesn't have anybody to sit with because the whole family besides him. Oh, 

Nikki Rinsema: you're my mom. She's going to love this show.

Robyn Bell: Well, how do we, how do we get Nathan to play trumpet in the Pop's?

Nikki Rinsema: No, no, no, no. 

Robyn Bell: You don't think so. 

Nikki Rinsema: Nope.

Robyn Bell: Does he still own a trumpet? 

Nikki Rinsema: Yep. 

Robyn Bell: Tell me with Nathan being a trouble player. How did Andy and Wrigley end up playing strings and nobody played in band trumpet or trombone or tuba? 

Nikki Rinsema: Because he not only has his full-time job, but he runs a business on the side. So when they were really low. And at the age of they're going to start playing a stringed instrument because I'm their mom, 

Robyn Bell: he lives 

Nikki Rinsema: 60, 70 hours a week. And there was just, he's like fine take care of it, whatever. 

Robyn Bell: Yeah. And a little easier to, learn a string instrument at a younger age, they can make them a different sizes to play a wind instrument. You're kind of teeth and mouth. You have to be at a certain age where everything is formed and your teeth are all in and your mouth is. And then you're dealing with the braces and that kind of thing, unless you play percussion. But, yeah. I find young students that start either on piano or string instruments. It's much easier for them than a band or wind and stray. Yeah. That's cool. Now we're playing 18 songs for this concert. Did you know that? Did you count them? 

Nikki Rinsema: I thought I counted. Oh, there's the million dollar quartet. I count that as one, one little plus a, 

Robyn Bell: you know, our big opener we always do in the Star-Spangled banner. So of those 18 songs, is there one that you have enjoyed learning the most? The new, the valor of valor of MNCI yes. You like that March? 

Nikki Rinsema: Do I really do? It's challenging. It's the most challenging piece for strings, for sure. I'm not sure about for, for the wind and the breath.

Robyn Bell: And this is a piece we'll play on the second half of the concert. That's the. Portion of the concert, because the valor of the MNCI was written for the multi national Corps Iraq. And so it's a March for the global war on terrorism. And there's not a lot of music out there for that.

Nikki Rinsema: No. Yeah. I don't imagine there would be, but this is a good piece of really like it's, 

Robyn Bell: it's got a great melody. 

Nikki Rinsema: Yes, it does. And it's just. A great March. 

Robyn Bell: And as is the case with me sometimes, cause I know a lot of band literature, I will, take a piece that is in the band repertoire and sort of recreate it for the full orchestra, which is the case with this. But it works really well with few guys, adding in the cellos is violence. It works with. 

Nikki Rinsema: I did it translated very well.

Robyn Bell: Any of your favorite Elvis tunes? 

Nikki Rinsema: I'm probably with my kids on the mall. 

Robyn Bell: It's such an upbeat, fun, too. 

Nikki Rinsema: It's just fun. I mean, for me, when I hear it, I think of the enchanted Tiki room 

Robyn Bell: with all the, with all the percussion. Yeah. There's a lot of percussion going on in this and 

Nikki Rinsema: back there. I just, it just makes it exciting.

Robyn Bell: Yeah. Now did any of your kids know this music? Because we should say, in addition to Elvis, as you mentioned, we're kind of doing a million dollar quartet suite. So we're doing some Jerry Lewis, Carl Perkins, Johnny B Goode. Uh, it's not really part of the million dollar quartet, but it's Johnny Cash ring of fire. So did your kids know any of this. 

Nikki Rinsema: Annie, this is funny and he knew Johnny be good because they just had homecoming week at school. And the theme was eighties movies and they had to like decorate their hallway and her class got the. Back to the future. 

Robyn Bell: Okay. So yet Johnny, 

Nikki Rinsema: when they had Johnny B Goode playing right next to her locker for a week straight. And then we got the music literally the week after this whole week. And she said, this song haunts me, 

Robyn Bell: but maybe it's more fun playing it with the orchestra than listening to it in her locker for a week.

Nikki Rinsema: I hope so. 

Robyn Bell: That is hilarious. But the Wrigley, no. Any other music. 

Nikki Rinsema: No just coconut mall.

Robyn Bell: Yeah. Well 

Nikki Rinsema: that was it. 

Robyn Bell: I wonder even like our patriotic stuff, God bless the USA or the,

Nikki Rinsema: I think they're familiar with those. 

Robyn Bell: The armed forces salute is interesting because of all the tunes from the five branches of the military. To me, that's a very educational opportunity because we should really all know those. And I only know them because of my job and conducting this piece for the past 25 years. So I think it's important when I think about like Annie and Wrigley and kids to kind of learn, oh, this is the Marine tune. This is the air force tune, the Navy tune, that kind of thing. How special is it to play each year for our areas veterans to you? Do you have any veterans in your family?

Nikki Rinsema: My nephew. 

Robyn Bell: Okay. 

Nikki Rinsema: Is he was in the national guard? 

Robyn Bell: Yes. 

Nikki Rinsema: And then I have like great uncles and, and 

Robyn Bell: during the civil war, 

Nikki Rinsema: world war II, there's some world war II vets. Nathan's my husband's grandfather fought in the battle of the bulge and roll. 

Robyn Bell: Wow. Wow. And so playing this music, because as you said, you played with AMICCO and they would kind of do a concert, the symphony on the sand. It would have a little bit, it was always on veteran's day weekend and, you know, playing with the pops or veteran's day show does have a lot of meetings.

Nikki Rinsema: Very much. Growing up in Massachusetts, we always did. It was more Memorial day than veterans day, but we always played at sunrise. In a cemetery and we did, America, the beautiful, and I think one other patriotic tune that we would as our string players. And that was like our service to the community. And we went and did that and , it was such a special day for us always. And it started with that. And so to be able to do that now with veterans day and honor the living veterans as know. Probably more special because you get to see their faces and what they do. 

Robyn Bell: You forget how meaningful music is to people and the memories it brings back. And the patriotic fervor of just hearing the Lee Greenwood tune, which Elvis is going to sing with us. Um, he's going to sing, God bless the USA, , which will be different. We usually do it just instrumental. So that is really neat. And then. Like you said, presenting this March about the war on global terrorism, we don't have a soundtrack for that war. Like we do the others. 

Nikki Rinsema: It was just so much integrated into everything for so long. 

Robyn Bell: Yeah. What kind of violin do you play? 

Nikki Rinsema: I have a wet beef violin. 

Robyn Bell: Okay. Tell me about that. 

Nikki Rinsema: Actually, it's a famous violin. I have a dealer that I work with in Chicago. He knows the maker. This man would be typically makes violas cellos, but he's made a few violins in this violent is, by him. This violin is famous because it was stolen at one point. And so all of the high-end. Instrument dealers and brokers. We're told to look out for this particular instrument because it had been stolen. Now I did not buy it from the 

Robyn Bell: Steeler. That, that from the thief? Let's go back. Where was it stolen from? 

Nikki Rinsema: In Chicago. 

Robyn Bell: And who had it originally?

Nikki Rinsema: I'm not sure who had it may have been somebody in the Sinfonietta. I think that had it, 

Robyn Bell: it was a stolen like out of their car or 

Nikki Rinsema: I think either on the subway or out of their car. Wow. So it was a stolen instrument. And when I went to check out Ronald Zach's and St. Petersburg. And told him about, he said, oh yeah, I know about that instrument. I was like, yeah, I bought it. He had heard of it because they were all told to be on the lookout for this. 

Robyn Bell: Wow. So everyone was on, look at it. I'll look out for it. And it appeared, 

Nikki Rinsema: I don't know. I have not gotten the details on that, but just that interest in somebody, they did get it. The person who had had it stolen was compensated for it or got it back or, and I'm don't think I bought it. It was like a consignment thing. And I think it was another owner previous, like it had gone through a couple of people, like, you know, like the red violin. 

Robyn Bell: Yes. That is so interesting. 

Nikki Rinsema: And Annie plays on my violin that I had previously before that.

Robyn Bell: Oh, that's sweet getting passed down. 

Nikki Rinsema: And that one, I got my senior year of high school. Oh, my dad sold his pickup truck to pay for it. 

Robyn Bell: Oh my goodness. Does she know this story?

Nikki Rinsema: I think so. 

Robyn Bell: She should have she done. You make sure you tell her today. That is so sweet now because you're a musician and your kids are musicians. Now, your husband being in it, I'm sure he didn't have any issues with this, but what did COVID look like for your family? Did you all of a sudden have to homeschool to kids?

Nikki Rinsema: I don't want in school, my kids, they were home. 

Robyn Bell: They were home. That doesn't count as homeschool. I, 

Nikki Rinsema: I basically went through all the emails from the teachers, with the kids. I said, do you understand what this means? 

Robyn Bell: Can you do it? 

Nikki Rinsema: You can handle this. You're going to be able to follow up on this. Okay, good. You're off, off you go. 

Robyn Bell: Did you, you feel like there was any kind of blip in their education? 

Nikki Rinsema: Um, probably, but I've been blessed to have bright children and, I've always been very proactive in making sure that they have good music education and making sure they read, my oldest is. Phenomenal reader and just never stops reading Wrigley is a really strong, like he's always reading. It's harder to get any, to read, um, 

Robyn Bell: the middle child syndrome. Yes, I think so. 

Nikki Rinsema: But she's the one who does sports. She works cross country and track. And she's super hard worker and the organized one and kind of keeps everything pulled together. Um, so I don't know. There maybe was a blip. I think the thing that was hardest for me, when it all first started was orchestra was gone for them lessons for gone 

Robyn Bell: and for you too. 

Nikki Rinsema: Yeah. And so we kind of started doing our own little music together at home. 

Robyn Bell: Matter of fact, you were on a very famous music video. Well, tell us about that. 

Nikki Rinsema: So our whole family, we're big fans of the band One Republic, and I was following them. They had actually been in Europe touring and they got sent home and sent in quarantine. And so they started just opening up on social media trying to connect with fans and they put out a song right at the beginning of all the lockdowns that. Had a COVID theme. I mean, they didn't say COVID in there, but it was called Better Days. And just talking about it's tough right now, but it'll get better. And when they released that song, then they put out a video to the fans saying, submit your videos about what you're doing. Talk down. And what things are like for you and your life, what you're doing activities you're doing with your family. What's your town looks like what your job is like all that. So I was like, well, we're playing music together. So I sat down and figured out the chorus of the song and wrote a little cello apart for Wrigley. Coming 

Robyn Bell: out to violin parts 

Nikki Rinsema: and we recorded it and submitted it. And it is the opener of their video.

Robyn Bell: Yes. I saw that. And during the lockdown, you shared it on Facebook. I went, oh my stars. How cool was that? 

Nikki Rinsema: It was so exciting, but it was such a bright spot.

Robyn Bell: More importantly. Did they pay you for. Nope. You get cheap One Republic. 

Nikki Rinsema: Congratulations. You're a finalist. You'll only be in the video if you sign away everything.

Robyn Bell: Yes, of course. Yeah, they, yeah, but that was really neat. 

Nikki Rinsema: It was, it was exciting. 

Robyn Bell: We're going to share that on this podcast. So I'll go back and find that video. It's still out there on YouTube. How many views does it have? Uh, millions I'm sure. Millions. Yeah. And you're in the beginning, you open up the whole thing, just kind of this acoustic string version of the tune. Oh, that's so cool. I remember. Okay. I have a couple of rapid fire questions for you. All right. 

Bradenton or Chicago


and it's sunny all the time. Yeah. As I say, Bradenton, stay warm and you guys have a beautiful home near the Manatee river and it live in the good life. Yeah. That's not the music side of your family. We should all go to computers. Okay. Macaroons or pumpkin pie. 

Nikki Rinsema: Oh, Pumpkin pie. 

Robyn Bell: I say that because you, I don't know if you still do, but at one time had like a macaroon business. How did that come about? 

Nikki Rinsema: Well, I did have a cake business first.

Robyn Bell: Okay. You're a baker. 

Nikki Rinsema: I was let's put it that in the past past tense, I got into cake decorating. When the kids were. Kind of small and it was something I could do from home. And, it was something that was fun and creative and then it took off. And then I was diagnosed with celiac disease and that means I can't have gluten gluten flour. And I was like, I'm not, 

Robyn Bell: there goes my cake making days.

Nikki Rinsema: I mean, I could have kept it up with just doing gluten-free cakes, but I was like, that's more work than it's worth. 

Robyn Bell: Is it hard to make a gluten-free cake? 

Nikki Rinsema: It's expensive. Oh, and . It's not the same consistency, so decorating it. And it's just, it is a little bit, 

Robyn Bell: I had a friend who had a friend who couldn't have gluten or was it vegan? I don't know. But the story I remember is that they made cupcakes for this person. you went kind of all out to make sure they were gluten free or vegan or whatever. I don't, I can't really remember at this point, but she said there were some leftovers. Angela I'll have one tomorrow. She said the next day hard as a rock.

Nikki Rinsema: Oh yeah, 

Robyn Bell: they don't last. She says you could have used it as a doorstop cupcake doorstop. Alright. Elvis or Mozart. 

Nikki Rinsema: Probably Elvis, but 


Robyn Bell: of knew the answer to that one. Yeah. All right. Favorite military song, army coast guard, Marines, air force, or Navy 

Nikki Rinsema: Navy. 

Robyn Bell: The arrangement we do at ends, the whole arrangement ends with the Navy tune and it has the little pop, I think, at the end. My favorite part, I agree. Okay. Pier 22 or marina jacks 

Nikki Rinsema: pier 22. I was there Friday night. 

Robyn Bell: Close to your house. Manatee Riverr. 

Nikki Rinsema: Best gluten-free bread,

Robyn Bell: but don't try it tomorrow. I 

Nikki Rinsema: know exactly I did. It was 

Robyn Bell: bad Tesla or VW 

Nikki Rinsema: Tesla,

Robyn Bell: Tesla, or BMW, 

Nikki Rinsema: Tesla,

Robyn Bell: Tesla, or Mercedes 

Nikki Rinsema: Tesla,

Robyn Bell: Tesla, or Audi 

Nikki Rinsema: Tesla,

Robyn Bell: Tesla or Porcsche. 


I ask you this because you have a Tesla. I have Tesla envy of you. 

Nikki Rinsema: Well, this is hilarious story. Nathan, he's embarrassing. Sometimes my husband, he likes to race people off the line in it.

The other night a Lamborghini came up next to him. 

Robyn Bell: Oh. And he raised a stoplight. 

Nikki Rinsema: Yes. He raced the Lamborghini off the line. But the funniest part is that Annie was in the backseat with her date per homecoming. She was like,

Robyn Bell: More importantly, did he beat the Lamborghini? Well, 

Nikki Rinsema: not even close, but the Lamborghini, like they weren't at the next light rolled down the window. He was like, I was racing a model S when plaid mode and I got smoked earlier today. Oh, 

Robyn Bell: So, this is a thing. This is a, a male testosterone thing. It 

Nikki Rinsema: is because it's not 

Robyn Bell: anything you would never do that.

No, no. Pull up next to a Pinto and tell you, you know, 

Nikki Rinsema: I've had other people try to race me. 

Robyn Bell: Really?

Nikki Rinsema: I just let him go. 

Robyn Bell: Yeah. You just sit there and stoplight, let him go. Yeah. It kind of steals their thunder. The 

Nikki Rinsema: best one was when a pickup truck I like, and I went faster cause I was, you know, I just took off and then pick up. Came up in with flying past me and didn't see that I had a cop right behind, came out and pulled them over. 

Robyn Bell: Good. Yeah. Now, if Nathan would have won that race, would Annie have been as embarrassed? 

Nikki Rinsema: Yes. 

Robyn Bell: Yeah. Okay. That's kind of cool to go to homecoming and a Tesla though. Yeah. Okay. The ultimate question, is it Tesla or Tesla?

Is it a SRO? A Z

Nikki Rinsema: Elan says Tesla, 

Robyn Bell: Tesla, like a Z. 

Nikki Rinsema: I hate that. So I said Tesla. Okay. So either way is fine. Always heard it. So I, I like the softer S 

Robyn Bell: okay. This is your last question. I haven't answered. Of somebody in a long time. Cause it kind of went by the wayside, but it's back up in the news and you're a string player. So where should the Sarasota orchestra next call home? 

Nikki Rinsema: They can't have their own building. 

Robyn Bell: No, they're getting kicked out because of the bay, the van Wezel they're tearing all that down. 

Nikki Rinsema: Right. But they can't put up a new building somewhere else. Is that just not a possibility 

Robyn Bell: they can, but nobody knows where that's going to be. They wanted to do Payne park, you know, downtown Sarasota. And that got vetoed. 

Nikki Rinsema: There's not a lot of. It's not a lot of, 

Robyn Bell: well, they were going to build a parking garage as part of that. That was their plan.

Nikki Rinsema: Well, right near the Asolo rep, the theater, there seems to be space there. That would be, I think, to be able to 

Robyn Bell: right there on that corner.

Nikki Rinsema: Yeah. 

Robyn Bell: Now? It doesn't seem to bother the Asolo very much, but what about, , airplanes and things like that going over because the airports close, right. Would that be an issue? Or could we, do we have enough sound abatement technology? Maybe we get Elon Musk to come in there and build it. Cause I've been saying the old Greyhound racetrack that's now defunct. 

Nikki Rinsema: Oh yeah. 

Robyn Bell: Tear that down. Greyhound hall. I see. 

Nikki Rinsema: Sure. It puts some dogs statutes out in the front. Yeah. Yeah. 

Robyn Bell: Mozart Beethoven dogs right there. There is a dog named Beethoven. There's a movie. We got it. Dang. We went well. Congratulations, Nikki. You are now officially part of the clubs. So let's say that folks listening want to hire you to play their wedding or next dinner party. You have a very accomplished string. Quartet plays all over the world. Well, how can people follow you or book, your services?

Nikki Rinsema: They could probably follow me on Facebook. Or they could contact the Pops is probably the best. 

Robyn Bell: Yes. Please send me all the emails and I will send you Nikki's contact information. 

Nikki Rinsema: Yes, 

Robyn Bell: no, I don't want people contacting me with a thousand emails. Nikki 

Nikki Rinsema: send them to Jack or Dan, 

Robyn Bell: Jack or Dan? Yeah. All right. Well, we can put a link to your Facebook page in there. You don't have a website for your string quartet. Uh, your husband's and it can he build.

Nikki Rinsema: He doesn't do that part. Oh, it's two different things.

Robyn Bell: Well, you have a seventh grader and a ninth grader. Can't they build you a website. I'll take you for ice cream. If you build me a website. Well, I want to say it has been a long time coming in months. We would be legal to drink by now. 21. Since the Pops Orchestra, since the entire pops orchestra last played a performance, but you can check us out this coming weekend and you have two opportunities to do so. First on Sunday, November 14th, at 3:00 PM at the Riverview performing arts center in Sarasota. And then the next night, Monday night. 15th at 7:30 PM at the SCF Neel performing arts center in Bradenton, tickets are super cheap and there are plenty of them left, which means lots of room for social distancing. We ask that everyone wear your mask and enjoy the concert. Safely. Tickets can be, or by going to the Suncoast culture club, calendar of We have Elvis Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins. And a slew of patriotic music to remind you of the great sacrifices our men and women in the military have made and an opportunity to wave those flags in celebration of our veterans, we're very excited to welcome Ted Torres. Martin is our Elvis tribute artists. He is fantastic, nikki. We look forward to use standing up to tune the orchestra, play all your solos and lead the Pops through this program. Thank you so much for joining me today.

Nikki Rinsema: Thank you for having me.