Pianos Without Borders Excites Crowd

By Jacky Lin’16 and Nelson Mak’16

From well-known classics like Raindrop Prelude, Opus 28, No.15 by Frederic Chopin to hit songs like All of Me by John Legend, “Pianos Without Borders” was an opportunity for students to show off their musical talent on December 10. There were eight pianists, along with a last minute addition of a guitar- ist during the concert.

“We don’t offer piano classes in the school,” said Ms. Robin Casalta. “There are many great instrumentalists in the school but they are shy. So we host this concert every semester to allow students to express themselves.”

Along with a variety of songs that were played in the concert, there was also a variety of pianists. The experience of each pianist ranged from two to ten years, and two of the eight pianists were self-taught.

“Compared to last time, we also have a lot more par- ticipants,” said Ms. Casalta. “We have a freshman playing and a girl playing this time around, and hopefully more students would come out of their shells and join us in our next concert.”

The first performer was Marcus Chan ‘17, who set the mood by playing a slow and mysterious classic called Waltz, Opus 64 No.2 by Chopin.

Following Chan’s performance was Jhecy Balansag ‘16, one of the self-taught pianists. He changed the pace by play- ing a fast-paced piece called Dear You by Higarashi.

“The piano is an elegant instrument, and I hope that next year, we can get more people to play and watch,” said Ba- lansag ‘16

Up next was the only female performer, Audrey Tan ‘16, who played two classics, Polonaise by Johann Sebastian Bach and La Chevaleresque by Friedrich Burgmüller.

“Being the only the only female performer made me very nervous and put a lot of pressure on me,” said Tan. “But I wanted to be just like them so I tried to give my best perfor- mance.”

The mood changed once again when David Shumunov ‘17 played a jazz piece Long Ago by Nikolai Mordeov. “I am very glad that people actually came to watch us perform,” said Shumunov. “It felt great that I got to perform my piece to everyone.”

The concert not only highlighted pianists, but also as a last minute surprise to entice people to come back next semester, Ms. Casalta added a guitar- ist, Nick Lopez ‘16, to play Sing by Ed Sheeran. Zachary Feinstein ‘16, played Raindrop Prelude, Opus 28, No.15, by Cho- pin which is known for its difficulty and its majestic melody.

Up next was Yablonsky Jacques ‘17, who also played two pieces and liven up the mood by play- ing some modern music like Paradise by Coldplay and All of Me by John Legend.

“I’ve been playing the piano for around nine years now, but mainly focus on classics,” said Jacques. “So I decided to pick up these two modern pieces to show people that I can play a lot more than just classics.”

John Li ‘16 was up next but before he performed, he gave a short speech that if you wanted to do something in life, you should go and do it because you know how it would end if you never tried, just like his passion with the piano.

Li, just like Balonsag, was a self-taught pianist, and he began by playing a piece similar to Balonsag called Sakura Nagashi by Utada Hikaru.

Finally, the last performer, Brian Begelman ‘18, played the Opening Theme from Piano Concerto No.1 by Pyotry Llyich Tchaikovsky. The audience rec- ognized his piece as the piece used as the openings for the ballets of Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake and the

Nutcracker. “I was really nervous while performing, being the youngest of the group,” said Begelman. “But I still had a lot of fun performing and I am looking forward to performing my next piece.”

The performers said they enjoyed performing at the concert and although they were ner- vous, they liked the firsthand expe- rience they got by playing in front of an audience. The performers also said that they would like to see more variety in the concert next time, which is being considered by Ms. Casalta as they will have

a drummer and a steelpan player in the May concert. Ms. Casalta concluded the recital by thanking the per- formers and the audience for coming and asking that if anyone would like to perform in the next concert to see her in room 440.

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