A fundraising concert next week will help offset the cost of sending a Langley music trio to the Maritimes this summer.
Violinist Annis Lee, cellist Sabrina Juan, and pianist Charmaine Yang make up Trio Liscio, and it was their joint efforts at the BC Festival for the Performing Arts in Victoria recently that earned these girls a spot in a competition in mid-August in New Brunswick, said Carolyn Granholm, the assistant principal at Langley Community Music School.
“It’s an amazing achievement for these students,” Granholm said, noting the girls performed Tango 55, by Victor Davies and Piano Trio No.1 in B- flat Major, by Franz Schubert, to win the provincials.
The three girls have known each other for a few years, since they all started attending the music school together about five years ago. But they didn’t start performing together until January, and they’re all stoked about the results.
‘I want to do that’
“To win the national class in Victoria is something absolutely special,” Lee said.
“I have taken part of many music festivals before, but with this great opportunity,” she elaborated, noting it is allowing them not only a chance to play music, but also travel to the other side of the country.
“It is amazing to think that I will be representing British Columbia with my trio members at a national competition, she said.
Lee, 16, has been playing the violin since she was five.
“When I was around three years old, I would yell and point towards the TV when there was a violin so my parents decided to start violin lessons,” Lee shared.
“My interest in music sparked when I was a young child and saw videos of people playing different instruments. Watching people make music out of all these different instruments really made me want to do the same thing,” she recounted.
“After that, I was in love with playing the instrument. I absolutely love the violin because I am able to pull so many different sounds from the instrument. I can play a deep, beautiful tone from the lower register, as well as a brilliant and exciting sound from the higher register of the violin,” Lee said.
Soon to be a Grade 12 student at R.E. Mountain Secondary, Lee has a love for classical music, but can also be found listening to rap, pop, and R&B music.
She may not have decided yet if she’ll pursue a career in music, but the Willoughby resident is definitely leaning that way.
“I have thought heavily about going into music. The best thing about choosing music as a career is that it won’t be a job. I get to do something I truly enjoy and I can continue this passion forever,” she said.
At the provincial competition, Lee was also a runner-up in the string national class for players 28 years and younger.
On the cello
A neck injury and her parents insistence that Juan try “many new things,” ruled out violin and piano in favour of the cello.
The Grade 11 student at Earl Marriott Secondary School started playing the piano when she was four. But in keeping with the “try everything” philosophy, she also tried her hand at swimming, dancing and cello during those early years.
Only the latter quest proving successful for her.
“No one in our family has played music, so I might not have started playing if it wasn’t for some family friends… sending their children to learn the piano. My parents decided to let my sister try. The four-year-old me would listen to her practise everyday. I wanted to play as well, so my parents let me try,” Juan told the Langley Advance.
“Music was really the only thing that stuck with me my whole life,” said the 15-year-old, who insisted that regardless of her career path “music will always be a part of my life. It is very dear to me.”
She’s still in a bit of shock that the trio won.
“It feels really rewarding, like our hard work had paid off,” the Crescent Beach girl said. “As a young musician, I am very glad of this wonderful opportunity to travel with my group, and to create music along with other accomplished musicians. It makes me want to improve, and up my standards of playing.”
She has to sometimes pinch herself when realizing the trio have earned themselves this trip to New Brunswick. But moreover, she finds it hard to believe she’s even able to play with the likes of Lee and Yang.
She first heard Lee perform for a few years back.
“I thought, wow! She’s so good,” Juan said of Lee. “I never thought we would get to play together…”
Likewise, she met Yang during festivals and concerts at LCMS, and was in awe of her musical abilities.
“I was stunned every time I heard her play,” Juan said of Yang’s talent on the piano.
Tickling the ivory
There’s definitely admiration shared amid these young women.
“It has been such a wonderful adventure to play in the trio, and to get a chance to play with two other very passionate and talented musicians is a pleasure,” added Yang.
“Winning in Victoria was very amazing, it proved that we work really well as a chamber group.”
Yang, 15, has many wins to her credit, including a runner-up distinction during the most recent provincials, in the intermediate piano class for students 17 years and younger. She’s also won second place in the solo piano category the previous two years.
And in addition to a number of awards from the Kiwanis Fraser Valley Music Festival and LCMS, she’s been invited to perform with the school orchestra, as dwell as two guest spots with the Chilliwack Symphony.
The Ottawa-born teen began playing the piano a decade ago, while living in Shanghai, China.
“My mom wanted me to learn some kind of an instrument and she thought about the violin, and cello, but she wanted me to start on piano, to use it as a foundation. But after I learned the piano, I actually fell in love with it,” Yang shared.
The Willoughby teen also plays the flute and cello, and sings, but her heart lives in the piano.
“I love the piano because, on the piano, the possibility is unrestricted, and I love hearing the different tones you can produce on a single instrument, and how every piano is different, and has their own personality,” said the Langley Fine Arts School student who is entering Grade 11 in the fall.
Winning in Victoria was “very amazing,” according to Yang, who is now getting excited about competing on the world stage in New Brunswick.
“The competition this year will have musicians from all over the world. It will open up a whole new level of world to me, because all of these musicians were advanced to this level because of their high-musicianship. I will be able to learn from all of them,” she said.
“None of us have been to the national competition before, it will be a very exciting trip for all of us,” Yang concluded.
Making the trip possible
To help raise money for the trip, the trio – who have known each other for about four years – are hosting the fundraising concert on Tuesday, July 3, at 7 p.m. in the LCMS’ Rose Gellert Hall.
The program will feature music by Beethoven, Bach, Piazzola, and Schubert.