See video of Carol Cook
For years she had to stack her schedule, documenting every performance with a copy of the program. Even as a member of the Lyric Opera viola section, she had to prove she would have a job for the following two years, re-qualifying for her O-visa, a permit for non-immigrants who possess extraordinary ability. After several rounds of this she was able to procure a green card.
This “alien of extraordinary ability” was Carol Cook, the newly appointed principal viola of the Lyric Opera Orchestra. Cook, who trained at Juilliard, has played in the Lyric Opera Orchestra for nearly a decade. For one year, she took a sabbatical from Lyric to play in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. For Cook, the only bit of unfinished business was becoming a U.S. citizen. Chicago is home for this Scottish fiddler and violist; so the minute she became eligible, after living as a “permanent resident” for five years (having a green card), she applied for citizenship. On Monday, July 22nd, being American became a reality.
A happy surprise for the 140 others taking the oath that day, Carol opened the ceremony with a classy performance of the Star Spangled Banner (see video).