Selected reading from VIOLINS OF HOPE, by James A. Grymes.

May 26, 2018
Main Public Library Auditorium

615 Church Street, Nashville, TN 37219



Three Nashville Repertory Theatre actors and two Nashville Symphony musicians join forces for a moving and impactful sharing of selections from the book VIOLINS OF HOPE, which details the stories of some of the instruments on display in the Nashville Public Library’s current exhibit. Join Chip Arnold (INHERIT THE WIND), Matt Garner (DEATH OF A SALESMAN), and Lauren Berst (SENSE AND SENSIBILITY) as they bring to life these not-to-be-forgotten stories. Violinist Zeneba Bowers and cellist Matt Walker will perform on two of the instruments in the Violins of Hope collection, in an experience that integrates word and music in a way that only artists in performance can do.


About the Artists:


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Henry O. Arnold, Actor

Mr. Arnold received his B.A. in acting from Pepperdine University and his Master of Fine Arts degree at U.N.C. Chapel Hill. Also known as Chip Arnold, his regional theater credits include Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol” (Studio Tenn), Lord Capulet in “Romeo and Juliet” (Nashville Shakespeare Festival), Stage Manager in “Our Town” (Studio Tenn), Atticus Finch in “To Kill A Mockingbird” (Nashville Rep), Marchand in “La Belle et La Bete” (Nashville Children’s Theatre), Mark Rothko in “Red” (Nashville Rep), Willy Loman in “Death of a Salesman,” (Nashville Rep), Henrik Ibsen in “Posterity” (Nashville Rep), Mark Seraph in “Stand” (Writer’s Stage).

Mr. Arnold’s recent film work includes “Form 17” and “Tempo” for Red Giant directed by Seth Worley, “The Fabric of Space” directed by Derek Pearson, and “Killing Time” directed by Adam Rosenbaum. He co-wrote “The Fabric of Space,” which won a Bronze for Best Film at the 2015 L.A. Short Film Festival. His novel, “Hometown Favorite,” and non-fiction work, “KABUL24” are available wherever books are sold. He and his lovely wife Kay (Professional Counselor), have two beautiful daughters, married to two handsome men, with three above-average grandchildren. For current information visit his website:

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Lauren Berst, Actor

Moved to Nashville after living in New York for over 15 years. Nashville credits: Sense and Sensibility, Ingram New Works Festival, Writing Room (Nashville Rep). Love Song (Nashville Story Garden), Hamlet (Nashville Shakespeare Festival), Ten-Minute Playground and Rally/Cry. NYC credits: St. Crispin’s Day (Off-Broadway), Off-Off Broadway shows include In the Meantime, Down the Road, Sacred Water, There’s A Light on Yonder Mountain. Web series: Settling Up and The Ultimate WingWoman Challenge. An accomplished voiceover artist, Berst can be heard on numerous commercials, promos, and narrations. B.F.A. from the University of Evansville and M.F.A. from the National Theatre Conservatory.


Zeneba Bowers, violin

Violinist Zeneba Bowers joined the Nashville Symphony in 1999 and became Assistant Principal Second Violin in 2001. Zeneba is also the founder and artistic director emerita of ALIAS Chamber Ensemble, which she founded in 2002. The group quickly became a major element of Nashville’s classical music scene, receiving much critical acclaim locally and nationally for its artistry and adventurous programming. Zeneba also co-produced ALIAS’ debut CD, Hilos, which garnered a GRAMMY nomination in 2011 for Best Small Ensemble Performance. The ensemble’s second CD, Boiling Point: Music of Kenji Bunch, was released a year later and hit the Billboard Top 100 Classical charts in its first week of release.

Zeneba earned her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the Eastman School of Music. She served as concertmaster of Charleston Spoleto Festival, Festival dei Due Mondi (Spoleto, Italy) and the New World Symphony.


Matt Garner, Actor

Matt is an actor-turned-playwright who on alternating blue moons stumbles into an opportunity to take the stage again. He is the author of There Are Others, a play based on historical events in the early days of Auschwitz and the last days of Maximilian Kolbe, as well as a forthcoming full length drama being developed with the Tennessee Playwrights Studio. As an actor, Matt performed with Nashville Rep in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and Death of a Salesman. Other credits fondly remembered include Henry V, King Lear (the Nashville Shakespeare Festival), Red, Clybourne Park, A Raisin in the Sun, In the Next Room (PlayMakers Rep), and many others. Matt holds a Master of Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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Lea Maitlen, Soprano

Lea Maitlen, a classically trained vocalist, holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a Master of Music degree from Belmont University.   She is a founding member of Nashville’s Portara Ensemble, and currently serves as Executive Director for ALIAS Chamber Ensemble. Maitlen is a specialist in contemporary vocal music and has performed the Tennessee premieres of Caroline Shaw’s “Cantico delle creature”, Richard Danielpour’s “Portraits, and the soprano in David Lang’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Little Match Girl Passion.”  She has also performed the World Premiere of Daniel Elder’s “The Ties Eternal” with ALIAS. 


Matt Walker, cello

After two years as an English major at James Madison University, cellist Matt Walker transferred to Florida State University, where in 1991 he received his Bachelor’s degree in music. After playing for three years with the Jacksonville Symphony and then five years with the Charleston Symphony, Matt won a position in the cello section in the Nashville Symphony in 1999.

In 2002 Matt was one of the founding members of ALIAS Chamber Ensemble, appearing as a cellist and composer, as well as a bassist and guitarist. The ensemble has garnered much critical acclaim locally and nationally for its artistry and adventurous programming, which has included world premieres of several of Matt’s own compositions. Matt performs on ALIAS’ first CD, Hilos, featuring the music of Gabriela Lena Frank, which was released on Naxos’ American Classics label in 2011. He also co-produced the disc, which received a GRAMMY® nomination for Best Small Ensemble Performance.

As a composer as well as a performing musician, Matt has written many pieces that have been performed around the country and in Europe. Over years of working closely with many musicians in other genres (notably Lyle Lovett and Chet Atkins, as well as countless Nashville recording artists), much of his composition has become heavily influenced by swing, jazz and blues. In 2012 Matt was commissioned by the Nashville Ballet, which performed his “Arabian Blues” in May 2012. That same month, Yo-Yo Ma premiered his cello duo “Yo-Yo Joe.” In the fall of 2012, the Ballet’s performance of “Arabian Blues” was recognized as a “Best of Nashville” work by the Nashville Scene.

Learn more about Matt and his music at