WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MOST MEMORABLE AND IMPACTFUL MOMENTS AT CONCORDIA IN BAND/MUSIC?
Some of the most memorable moments for me include the last rehearsals of the HS Spring Musical “The Wizard of Oz”, eyes looking between the music in front of me and friends on the stage below me, fingers adjusting their movement on the keys to the rhythm of the singers and dancers, and ears listening intently to what was the bitter sweet end of months of growing closer in this musical production. Especially memorable was the song “For Good” - a beautiful and meaningful song that ended the musical and said goodbye to the friends graduating and moving away.
What I miss most about high school is the music and music community. It was part of my life almost every day, from before-school practices to late night rehearsals. I miss carrying my French horn onto the Rittmann stage, onto a plane to Japan, into the ‘pit’ (balcony) orchestra, into basketball games. I miss picking up a trombone, a trumpet, and jazzing it up, letting loose with a jazz band who welcomed me in to play together. I miss playing piano with so many different groups of musicians who loved making music. You can get lost in the beauty and joy of playing alone, but playing music with others who enjoy it as much as you do is something else.
That’s what music is; it connects us. It connects musicians as they practice and perform, as they intertwine their harmonies into one song and showcase each instrument and its melody in turn, as they join in one common beat and one common language. Music is something I often forget how much I love and miss when life feels too busy. When I long for music again and wish I could relive part of my past, when I long for high school again, it’s always the music that I miss. While at Starbucks with my physiology textbook cracked open, I hear a song that I once played in band and miss that feeling; while watching a movie I hear the French horn’s harmony and miss being that part. Being a musician at Concordia meant being part of a community, one that you saw every day.
HOW DID YOUR INVOLVEMENT IN THE PERFORMING ARTS HELP YOU TO GET WHERE YOU ARE TODAY?
Since age 5, my involvement in music has pushed me to put “practice makes better” into practice over and over and over again. Now, music is for me a wonderful way to decompress, to stir joy in my evenings, and to share it with others.
I believe 15 years of dedication to music was evidence to university program admissions committees and to myself that I am capable and committed in the long-term to (i) seeing goals through despite difficulty along the way (knowing that even in a career or hobby you love there are instances you resent along the way), (ii) focusing my passions and skills into filling needs and serving others, (iii) resilience after my performance failures, and (iv) positively coping with large and day-to-day stresses.
WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH YOUR PERFORMING ARTS EXPERIENCES/EXPERTISE AS YOU GO FORWARD IN LIFE?
I will continue to play piano, enjoying the solace and solitude and music to my ears it brings. In the future, I want to share music with my kids and want for them also the chance to experience what benefits it brings.
ARE YOU INVOLVED IN MUSIC NOW?
Since my years at Concordia, my involvement in music has primarily been on the piano: teaching, performing duets, and playing for my own enjoyment at home. Currently I still enjoy playing during time off and in the evenings, and I’m preparing a 2-piano-4-hands duet with a new music-loving friend for a ‘Med Gala’ charity fundraiser.
Connecting with people can be over any number of things, often shared hobbies or interests or complaints. But deeper connection is found when both feel “you truly get me” without having to explain, and this is found only in a handful of things. For me, these are being a Christian, growing up partly in Shanghai, and being a musician. Concordia was a unique community, my community for all of these.