49 Voices: Noatak Post of Juneau

Noatak Post in Juneau (Photo by Jacob Steinberg/KTOO)
Noatak Post in Juneau (Photo by Jacob Steinberg/KTOO)

During the summers, Juneau’s Noatak Post can be found playing the violin for tourists visiting the state’s capital as they disembark from cruise ships.

POST: I started playing the violin 11 to 12 years ago. I started when I was turning 6-ish I think. I started at a bluegrass summer camp that was hosted here in Juneau by a band called Barefoot Bluegrass. And I went to the summer camp with no musical experience really in my family at all, and I came home after that first week and said, “Mom. Dad. I really want a violin. Please buy me a violin.”

And so they went to one of the band members and asked where we could get one, and they happened to have their old violin, sitting in their parents’ attic. And they sold it to us.

Whenever and wherever someone will hire me. I do weddings fairly often. I just played a birthday party a week ago, and I’ve done a couple family reunions. But weddings are fairly common. One of the songs I can do with my looped violin is Pachelbel’s Canon, which people love to have at their wedding.

Violinists are a dime a dozen. It’s great. I love that there’s so many people playing music, but there’s so many people. Especially here in Juneau. What I think is great is the JAMM program that’s in the elementary schools, getting everyone to play an instrument. I didn’t have that when I was in elementary school.

I haven’t played bluegrass in over a decade, it’s crazy. I only went to that camp for a couple more years before they stopped coming to Juneau. And after that, I started taking private lessons with Mr. Xia, who’s one of the teachers in town. And since then I’ve been classically trained, and in the past few years, have moved on to more modern and pop.

I’m gonna be a senior this year, so I’ve got one more year in Juneau, and I’ll keep doing it as long as people will listen to me, and with a different group of people on the cruise ships every day, that’s an easy thing to accomplish.

Correction: Spelling errors in references to the JAMM program, Mr. Xia and Pachelbel have been corrected. 

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