Last weekend the newly formed Millennium Music Teacher’s Association of Northeast Pennsylvania held a piano master class and recital at Wyoming Seminary’s Great Hall in Kingston, PA. The informal recital featured musicians from the West Chester University Student Chapter of Pennsylvania Music Teachers and the master class was held by Clement Acevedo.
I happened to be sitting behind three boys who looked to be about eleven. They were friends, sitting together, with no parental supervision… in the front row. I glanced at the program. Bach, more Bach, Brahms, Rachmaninoff, Weber and then Ravel. Could they sit still that long? Would there be squirming and whispering? Would they distract the soloists? Would snack wrappers and water bottles that were provided turn out to be a mistake?
I’m happy to say “no” to all of the above. In fact, when it came time for the Ravel they were spellbound. Here was a young man (PMTA Young Artist award winner, John Kline), dressed in jeans and sneakers, dazzling them with the repeated notes and glissandos in Ravel’s Alborado Gracioso from Miroirs. They looked at each other and mouthed “Wow.”
I can’t help but think, if these boys weren’t sitting together in the front row, on the same level as the piano, less than 20 feet away from the performer; and if the pianist didn’t look like he could have been an older brother, or someone on their high school’s football team…then maybe, just maybe…these three boys would have found their empty water bottles more interesting than the Ravel.