After more than ten years of tedious record-keeping and documentation, Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Principal Violist Carol Cook became an American. At her swearing-in ceremony, she made a musical offering for herself and dozens of other candidates taking the Oath of Allegiance: a solo performance of the Star-Spangled Banner (video below).
For years Carol Cook stacked her schedule, taking few vacation days and cataloging the printed program of every performance. Even as a member of the Lyric Opera viola section, she had to demonstrate to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services that her employment status would be unchanged for another two years – a standard requirement for an O-visa, a permit for non-immigrants who possess extraordinary ability. After several rounds of submitting her performance history and re-qualifying for the O-visa, she was eligible for a green card.
For Cook, the only bit of unfinished business was becoming an American. Chicago is home to this Scottish musician. Already active in the community, she wanted to be a full-fledged member. Thus, the minute she was eligible (after having lived for five years as a “permanent resident”), Carol Cook applied for citizenship. On Monday, July 22, 2013, she took the Oath of Allegiance and became a United States citizen.
See video of Carol Cook performing the Star-Spangled Banner at her swearing-in ceremony.