It has been an eventful past year for me. Between going to a new school, turning 11, and working on a special project with Michael, I have had plenty to keep me busy. And, of course, I have been performing a lot at home for my family and friends on Facebook. Thank you all for your views and support!
Most of all, though, I have missed performing in front of live audiences. There have been little opportunities to play for more than just my teachers or the occasional dinner party at home. So when I got invited to a statewide piano competition in May earlier this year, I was more than thrilled to return to the stage!
I was among hundreds of participants who made the weekend trip to the Florida Federation of Music Clubs Junior Convention over at the University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa. While I was there, I spent most of my time waiting around inside the school’s music building. It’s very easy to feel lost and tense while you have to wait your turn like I did. However, once I got inside each classroom, the noise outside didn’t matter. All that did was to sit down at the piano in front of three judges and let my performance do all the talking.
Of course, there was more to this trip than a piano competition. I have never gone to USF before so that in itself was a cool experience! I had lots of time in-between performances to explore other buildings on campus, including the Marshall Student Center. There were three lifelike gold statues of their mascot – the Bulls – near the entrance that I couldn’t resist but have my picture taken there. A nearby Vietnamese restaurant for dinner one evening was my other favorite part about this trip when I wasn’t at USF. The noodle bowls there were as good as any I’ve had away from the Orlando area, so the next time I’m back, I’ll be sure to return for more!
In the end, I was awarded an Honorable Mention for American Patriotic and Folk Song Piano Solo in Medium Class. It was the only award out of three categories I was entered. However, when there are dozens of fellow competitors per group, and often just a few Honorable Mentions with only one Winner, even this distinction is something to be proud of! This trip also made me realize how valuable the time spent practicing is worthwhile on the way back home. Nobody at this competition got there by accident, but deep down, each of the winners must have plenty of time and discipline to do better. In that respect, I know I can, too…
I promise my next update here won’t take much longer! In fact, I can’t wait for it to hatch on June 12. It’s a special day that is sure to bring great honor to a legendary artist, and I hope you’ll enjoy my tribute, as well!