Family Weekend Recital: What the Students Have to Say

Sixteen student musicians performed pieces with a variety of instruments on Saturday for Family Weekend. Of the sixteen students, five students, flutist Diana Ding ’16, vocalist Josephine Pandji ’16, flutist Cathy Liu ’15, flutist David Benedict ’15 and vocalist Wei Han Lim ’15, agreed to share their opinions on the student musical recital.

What was your favorite piece in the performance and why?

Ding: I thought everyone played and sang really beautifully, but what I liked best was the performance of Franz Liszt’s “Ballade No. 2, S. 171” by Harvey Wu ’14. It was just a superb combination of emotion and impeccable technique and that really appealed to me.

Pandji: My favourite piece of the recital was a violin piece performed by Tony Choi ’15. I loved it because he performed it so beautifully, and he didn’t even need sheet music! It was a long piece, I think it was about ten minutes. I could not believe he performed that song without any music to read!

How did the performers and pieces come together to form a cohesive show? Was there a common theme/motif?

Pandji: The pieces were all quite varied, and there was a wide range of performers from pianists to vocalists to flutists. The musicians performed quite diverse pieces. I think that the diversity is what made the overall recital interesting and entertaining, and I really enjoyed it.

Ding: I felt that one prevailing theme of the show was to showcase a lot of popular, as in often-heard, not “popular” in terms of the genre, music such as [Claude Debussy’s] “Clair de Lune” and “Colors of the Wind” from the movie “Pocahontas.”

Do you have any special memories from either the recital or the preparation leading up to the performance?

Benedict: I remember very clearly the moment when we decided to place half the ensemble on stage and the other half up in the loft. The way this piece was arranged, there were two solos flutes plus two “echo” flutes. The echo part does exactly what it says: after particular motifs, the echo part echoes what the solo flutes just played. It’s a really neat composition device, but we weren’t initially sure how to convey that concept to the audience. Then, someone had the idea that the echo part could be played from the loft, and we all said, “Yes! That’s perfect!” It was a classic “light bulb” moment.

Pandji: In my preparation for my performance, I remember being super nervous before the recital, scared that I would forget the lyrics on the stage and freeze, but everything went smoothly, so it was a great experience!

What was challenging about this recital? How did you overcome those challenges?

Liu: The recital was a bit difficult for me since I had to step in for a missing player during a part I didn’t know that well. I basically practiced it downstairs before the concert started!

Lim: For my piece “Take the Moment” by Richard Rodgers, I just made sure I focused on my breathing, projection and my pronunciation, which are things I had discussed with my instructor [Eve] Kornhauser, [Adjunct Instructor in Music.] We found this piece at the beginning of fall term, and we just thought it sounded great. It’s a simple piece, but it’s got a great melody.

Ding: I haven’t performed in about half a year, so I was a bit more nervous than I usually am on the stage. However, as I became absorbed in the music, the feeling went away.

What role did the student recital play in Family Weekend?

Benedict: There were two fairly unique things about this recital in relation to Family Weekend. First, it was on the more informal side. Families could drop in when they wanted. They didn’t have to get tickets or worry about finding a seat. Second, the Timken Room is a much smaller venue than Tang Theater or the Chapel. The audience was quite close to the performers. That gave the performances a different, more intimate feeling than, say, Grasshopper Night or the Band, Orchestra, and Chorus concerts. That’s not to say that that’s better, but it provided a nice variety during the weekend.

Lim: It was nice to have the student recital during Family Weekend as it definitely allowed students to show their parents what they had been working on over the term. It’s just a nice way to show off the fruits of your labor to your parents by performing for them as part of a public show. And what parent wouldn’t want to see his or her child performing live and just having fun?

In addition to Ding, Pandji, Liu, Benedict, Lim and mentioned students in the interview, other featured student musicians include John Little ’15, Michael Michiue ’14, Kevin Lee ’15, Julia Kim ’14, Katherine Vega ’14, Angela Hui ’16, Anna Chang-Chien ’16, Jessica Yin ’14 and Marcus Thompson ’15.