Isabel Chin’s ’21 Senior Recital Is the First Live Concert at Andover in Over a Year

As violinist Isabel Chin ’21 and pianist Rebecca Plummer, Instructor in Music, played the G-flat chord of the last piece, applause and cheering echoed throughout the Cochran Chapel as socially distanced audience members rose from their seats for a standing ovation. Chin, being one of the many Andover musicians unable to perform live in the past year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, expressed gratitude for the opportunity.

“I am just really grateful for all of the support, especially after the pandemic and everything. I think I had not performed in-person in over a year, so I just really appreciate everyone coming and just getting the chance to perform again in person,” said Chin.

Chin aimed for a program with a diverse repertoire that reflected aspects of her identity, as she feels that a recital should feature a variety of pieces. According to Chin, she chose the last piece on the program, “Estrellita” by Manuel Ponce, from a documentary.

“First of all, I’m Latinx, and so I wanted to incorporate a work by a Latinx composer and Manuel Ponce is Mexican, so I decided that that would be a cool piece to incorporate as well as the fact that I first heard that on a documentary of a famous violinist, Jascha Heifetz,” said Chin.

In usual school years, senior recitals would occur in the Timken Room at Graves Hall. However, due to social distancing protocols, the Timken Room had a reduced capacity of 20 people, making the Chapel a more optimal space. According to audience member Alex Park ’21, he found this space to be more suitable for better acoustics.

“Timken is a nice room, but it’s nothing compared to the acoustics of the Chapel. Just the overall vibe of the performance is very different inside the chapel,” said Park.

Since students on campus got out of quarantine a week ago, Chin only had two rehearsals with Plummer on the two pieces they played together. Despite the lack of time, Plummer found their rehearsals efficient and enjoyable.
“She is so well prepared, she is so musical, so easy to work with, and clear about what she wanted,” said Plummer.

Holly Barnes, Director of Music Performance and Instructor in Music, the organizer of the Senior recitals, is continuing to work out ways for music ensembles across campus to perform as much as possible in-person. After a year of not being able to attend live performances, she found it sentimental to be able to support Chin in-person.

“That is the first live concert I’ve been to over a year, so I got a little teary, I have to say. It’s emotional, you know. When you’re used to performing and going to concerts and then you suddenly don’t, it’s weird to not go,” said Barnes.

As an underclassman, Chin frequently attended Senior recitals and looked up to former Senior soloists, who became an inspiration for her. Through her own recital, she hopes to do the same for younger musicians.

“I thought that if anything, I could just share my music one last time, also knowing that there might be younger musicians in the audience and inspire them hopefully in the same way that other Seniors have done for me in the past,” said Chin.