A High Key Event: South Pianists Perform at Seventh Annual Piano Recital

By Caroline Hong
Freshman pianist Alison Y. walks as calmly as possible through the door leading into the large, spacious band room that houses a piano and takes her seat at the bench, breathing in deeply. Then, there’s nothing else but the sheets of music, the white and black keys, and herself. She begins the slow, soft tune of Chopin’s Nocturne No. 20 in C sharp minor, and the notes fill the room. Many snapped pictures, tapped their feet, and smiled at the familiar songs.
Alison said that when she first arranged her sheet music at the piano, she was “really nervous,” but when she started to play, “everything [went] away.”  Her practices with her friends and teacher for the recital were all fun and worthwhile “up to the point when they have it memorized, and they can hum it.”
Alison was just one of the many pianists who performed at South’s Seventh Annual Piano Recital on Friday, Oct. 26, 2012. Dressed formally, students took their turns at the bench, entertaining the audience with pieces by Beethoven, Schubert, and Chopin.
Giovanni X., a freshman who attended the recital, said, “the night was full of such talent. The pianists chose a variety of entertaining selections, so it was very enjoyable. The songs were all played so spectacularly, so it is quite difficult to choose a favorite song.”  Being someone who was learning to play the piano, he said, “It really does inspire and encourage me to keep on working hard at piano because I hope to be as good as the performers that night.”
Coordinators and organizers of this event, performing arts department chair Mr. Michael Schwartz and vocal music teacher Dr. Pamela Levy, have been holding this recital for the past seven years.
Mr. Schwartz said, “It is primarily for students who have participated in NYSSMA the previous year. . . . We look at the top scoring students, and we try to seek them out to find if they are interested in participating.”  Although it is not mandatory, those students in Dr. Levy’s Advanced Piano class are also encouraged to perform.
“We feel that this is really important because students in most high schools play in band or in orchestra, they sing in choir, but students who’ve been playing piano for many years—who have been really dedicated—do not usually have a place to exhibit their talent,” said Dr. Levy.
Mr. Schwartz and Dr. Levy decided to organize the recital after “seeing students practicing, in the practice rooms,” said Mr. Schwartz.  “That specifically is why we created this event. It is to find a vehicle for these especially talented piano students that we have.”