Piano man (and woman)


Performing the Fantasie-Impromptu in C-sharp minor, Op. 66 by Frederic Chopin, freshman Kristine Cho adjusts to playing on a nine-foot grand piano. On Tuesday, Nov. 11, the 29 students picked to perform at the Piano Student Showcase attended a rehearsal, running through the order of the program and walking through the path to get on stage and off stage. Photo by Alice Yu.

Alice Yu

Three RBHS students to perform in the thirteenth annual Piano Student Showcase
Now in its 13thftent year, the Piano Student Showcase initially began with the meeting of a woman who loved music and a young, aspiring pianist.
While attending a program called Muffins and Mozart at the Missouri Theatre, Georgia Morehouse happened upon a student performance. After experiencing the enchanting showcase of talent, Morehouse acted on her inspiration to create an opportunity for other pianists to perform at the Missouri Theatre.
“I came into the front lobby and I heard this wonderful piano music and so I followed my ears and I found that there was this little boy sitting at the piano and he had on a gray suit — I never will forget it — he had the sleeves rolled back, barely his fingers were showing but he was playing beautifully and so I was just awestruck by that. He was probably ten,” Morehouse said. “It turns out he was one of Beverly’s students and Beverly Kyriakos and Ann Manahan were sitting there and I said, ‘You know, this music is just too good. We need to have other people hear them’.”
Presenting the idea to the Women’s Symphony League, Morehouse was determined to give other students the experience of showcasing their piano talents in an exquisite theatre that also houses a magnificent stage and a nine-foot grand piano. The league took on the project and established the Piano Student Showcase which is holding it’s thirteenth annual performance at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 16.
“I’ve just thought that it was a worthy project. My heart is in it and I just think that it’s great,” Morehouse said. “Pianists don’t get much exposure, they don’t play with a band or anything like that and so they don’t get much exposure and I think it’s just grand what [they] can do. I don’t know one note from the other, but I sure appreciate good music.”
Featuring 29 pianists, grades ranging from kindergarten to high school seniors, the Showcase presents the community with a chance to celebrate music alongside young musicians. On Tuesday, Nov. 11, those 29 pianists attended a rehearsal that included a group picture and gave everyone a chance to run through their piece once again on the stage of the Missouri Theatre.
One of three RBHS students performing, freshman Kristine Cho is participating in her seventh Piano Student Showcase, along with sophomore Joanna Yu and junior Alice Yu. Her ear of 10th year studying piano, Cho’s motivation for auditioning and performing in Showcase comes from her love of music and the mental preparation that comes with auditions.
“Just being able to go home and practice is, while it can be a source of stress, it’s also a good stress reliever and I think music is also another really big way that people can express themselves,” Cho said. “Languages are actually restricting or restricted to a certain group of people or certain countries but music is almost received as an universal language.”
Also a participant in the Missouri Music Teachers Association (MMTA) District and State Auditions, Cho says that the auditions for Showcase not only supplies her with helpful critiques that could prepare her MMTA, but also gives her a chance to practice her stage presence.
“The audition itself is right before MMTA and so it’s another performance practice opportunity for me to take,” Cho said. “Also, just being to perform is really amazing. I think while there is a lot of stage fright involved and a lot of nerves at least, those couple of minutes on stage, everybody’s just looking at you in that one moment, it really pays off.”
But behind the polished performance the audience is presented with is hundreds of hours practicing and preparing that often becomes faint background noise.With just one chance to fully express the weeks of work spent on a song that lasts less than ten minutes, Cho strives to characterize her journey of growth in her music.
“There’s a lot of how to calm yourself right before a really big, stressful event and how to really enjoy something in the moment,” Cho said. “A lot of practice, a lot of hours, days, weeks, months go into one piece that lasts for five minutes and you have five minutes on stage to just play whatever piece you’ve prepared for hundreds of times longer than that piece actually is and to cram all that work into such a small time and to really show off for once.”
With a prestigious stage and theatre as well as a nine-foot grand piano, the Missouri Theatre creates an elegant atmosphere and setting for pianists to speak through their music.
“It’s a beautiful place to play, beautiful piano, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to play at the Missouri Theatre if it weren’t for Showcase,” piano teacher Beverly Kyriakos said. “Of course I wish that everyone could have the opportunity but it’s just like every audition, you have to select a few. It’s just always a wonderful experience to perform and when you’ve worked so hard on your pieces, it’s so nice to have a good venue to perform.”
Creating this opportunity for students to be recognized for their accomplishments in piano, Morehouse’s desire for Showcase is that it entices students to continue their musical studies by forging a stronger bond between a student’s heart and their future in music.
“I don’t know what they’ll take away from it,” Morehouse said. “I’m just hoping that being able to do something like this at an early age would perhaps keep them going as far as continuing with their piano studies and if not, at least to have had one experience like that that is a good memory.”
The thirteenth annual Piano Student Showcase will be held at the Missouri Theatre, 203 S. Ninth St., on Sunday, Nov 16 at 3 p.m. Admission costs $8 and children under 8 are free. Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance at D&H Drugstore.
By Alice Yu
Performing the Fantasie-Impromptu in C-sharp minor, Op. 66 by Frederic Chopin, freshman Kristine Cho adjusts to playing on a nine-foot grand piano. On Tuesday, Nov. 11, the 29 students picked to perform at the Piano Student Showcase attended a rehearsal, running through the order of the program and practicing entering and exiting the stage. Photo by Alice Yu.