Regina Carter to play with mentor at Varner

World-renowned violinist and Oakland University alumnus Regina Carter will be performing this Friday at 8 p.m. in Varner Recital Hall with her former mentor Marvin “Doc” Holladay.

Carter became OU’s artist-in-residence in the fall, and has since returned to campus to sit in with classes and pursue her own research in the theraputic uses of music.

Carter took time out of her schedule to answer a few questions from The Oakland Post.  

The Oakland Post: What impact did your time enrolled as a student at OU have on your career?

Regina Carter: The fact that OU was so close to Detroit was a definite plus. Several alums who lived in Detroit and surrounding areas would often come back to OU sitting in with the big band and doing some coaching.

We could zip down to the clubs in Detroit on jam session nights and put our practice to work.

Although OU was a large university, I always felt my professors in all the departments were in tune with their students and very involved and approachable.

Post: How influential was Marvin “Doc” Holladay on your development as an artist?

Carter: Doc was extremely supportive of all of us. He would go to bat for us and the department in a minute.

He has a vast knowledge of many musical languages and their cultures and equipped us with that knowledge.

If there was a concert or restaurant that featured music or food from a culture we were studying, Doc would take us there so we were exposed to it first hand, so to speak.

It was evident he loved teaching and sharing information as much as he did performing.

Post: There have been so many highlights throughout your career, name one that particularly stands out?

Carter: I have been blessed with some incredible opportunities in my lifetime. I’d have to say though that performing with the late great bassist Ray Brown was an experience I’ll always treasure. He had many great stories from his days on the road playing with other greats and he also took time to make sure I had my finances in order. Mr. Brown was very much a father figure to all of the young musicians he invited on his stage.

Post: How are your studies in the theraputic uses of music coming along?

Carter: It has taken me a while to get the ball rolling, but I’m very much enthralled with the information I’m digesting.

My perspective is very different now than from the time I attended OU in the ‘80s. “Living some” has its advantages.

Post: In your time as artist-in-residence, what are your impressions of the current music department at OU?

Carter: I sat in on a few classes during my first visit and it was encouraging to hear the level of musicianship of the students. Watching the professors pushing their students beyond their comfort levels also stirred some ideas in me.