Twin string experts visit RMI

The Churchill twins performed a concert at Marshall Islands Resort’s Melele Room December 26 during their first visit to the Marshall Islands since they were adopted at eight months of age. Julia plays the violin, while Emma plays the cello. Photo: Karen Earnshaw.

One of the reason why Marshallese women aren’t afraid to give kids up for adoption is because of the Marshallese saying “Jined ilo kobo,” which means our mother is forever. This has especially proven true for the Churchill twins, Julia and Emma, who were adopted at eight months of age and are now visiting for the first time as adults to reconnect with their birth family.

The Churchill twins are both lovers of music, thanks to their adopted American parents. Julia plays the violin and Emma plays the cello, and both play the piano. The twins started learning their instruments at the age of four. Though they were both given violins to start, Emma started holding her violin as if it was a cello, so playing the cello became natural for her. Julia took to the violin.

“At the 16, it became clear to the two of us that this is what we wanted to pursue,” the twins said. The twins studied in college with music as their major and have continued on to graduate school. Choosing music to major in was a natural choice for the twins and they felt like it was the right path for them. “We love it,” said the twins.

Since heading to university, the twins haven’t been able to play together for a long while since they studied in different schools and countries. So a concert last week at Marshall Islands Resort’s Melele Room was the first concert length performance that they performed together. The Melele Room concert consisted of a range of musical genres but highlights included a number of Christmas pieces and a spirited version of Scott Joplin’s The Entertainer. Adoptive father Mark was on hand at Melele Room to proudly introduce his daughters, adding a little bit of their history to his talk.

Organizers of the concert, led by music buff Scott Stege, wrote in a release: “Originally named Day and Night … the twin’s Johnny family birth parents are from Airok, Ailinglaplap, though the twins were born on Majuro and have lived in the States ever since. They studied music seriously from age four and are excited by this, their first trip back to the Marshall Islands.”

Their father is educator, conductor, and cellist Mark Churchill, who is Dean Emeritus of New England Conservatory’s Preparatory School. He was married to violinist and educator, the late Marylou Speaker Churchill, who worked at the New England Conservatory and was Principal Second Violin of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

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