Sharing Culture and Music

. August 26, 2019.
From left to right: Ethan Zheng, Emi Kawamura, Shane Reed, and Gabi Gazette.
From left to right: Ethan Zheng, Emi Kawamura, Shane Reed, and Gabi Gazette.

A group of Findlay High School students recently performed at a self-organized musical evening entitled “A Classical Piano Concert” at St. Andrews United Methodist Church in Findlay for an audience of over 100 people. Ethan Zheng, a sophomore, had been practicing on St. Andrews’ grand piano and arranged the concert as a way to give back to the church and to share the cultural experience of classical music with community members.

The students involved in developing and carrying out the performance included Zheng, Gabi Gazette, Emi Kawamura, Nick Lloyd, Shane Reed, and Haruka Takizawa. Planning the event took about a month with the group creating a set list that included both solo and group pieces. The students performed a range of songs representing different time periods and cultures, including a Romanian Folk Dance, a gavotte, and Claude Debussy’s “Clair de Lune.” The students performed on the piano, violin, and cello.

Zheng’s mother, Ping Huang, said, “It was encouraging to see that the kids themselves did this and came together to promote classical music. They gave that (gift of music) back to the community.” Additionally, she noted that many of the smaller children who came to the event expressed a desire to put on their own concerts.

At the concert, each student introduced the musical pieces they were about to perform. Although unrehearsed, Zheng said that they had learned how to introduce music professionally by watching their orchestra director, Kenneth Pressel. The students, who have all been playing music from a young age, drew on those experiences to create a professional concert environment for the audience.

Huang hopes that the concert put on by the students is a model for other young people, and an example of how students are willing to come together to promote classical music and cultural experiences within the community of Findlay. “This will hopefully encourage more children to do something like this and make Findlay a more culturally diverse and active city,” she said. “This is another example of how the Findlay community and our schools are raising our kids. These are the positive things that are happening.”