DVGS Fall Recital: Warm Melodies on a Winter Night

Written by Cherry Ngo, Katherine Wang (Class of 2024), and Yoyo Ji (Class of 2022)
Photography by Amy Liu (Class of 2023), Rachel Blythe, and Thuy Nguyen (Class of 2022)
Video by Rachel Blythe (Class of 2022) and Amy Liu (Class of 2023)

“Music is the universal language of mankind.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Lights flickered brightly in Wonderful Words Hall as music trickled out, winding into the cool night air. Inside, rows of teachers, parents, and students sat expectantly, listening intently with mugs of hot chocolate between their hands. All participants had been screened and tested for COVID-19 prior to entering the hall.

It was the night of December 14, 2021, and the Music Appreciation class was holding their first DVGS Fall Recital featuring both Eastern and Western music. Led by Ms. Sophie Wu, the class had prepared for months, practicing their pieces and planning out every detail of the recital. Anticipation was rising– many parents had driven for hours to attend the event and those who could not be present joined on Zoom to watch the livestream.

Representing the western style, Cherry Ngo (Class of 2024) opened the event with a dynamic alto-saxophone piece, “Chartreuse” by American composer and arranger Frank D. Cofield. Violinist Katherine Wang (Class of 2024) then played the “Theme From Schindler’s List.”

Next, singers Kirsten Chen (Class of 2025) and Yoyo Ji (Class of 2022) expressed their passion for classical singing with Italian vocal pieces “Santa Lucia” and “Ridente La Calma.” Celina Li (Class of 2025) concluded the western section with her acoustic rendition of “Heather” by Conan Gray.

“The Rain of Jiangnan,” a renowned classical Chinese flute piece performed by Katrina Hu (Class of 2025), marked the start of the traditional Chinese section. Ashley Dong (Class of 2025) painted a picture of “Porcelain” through her singing and Tessa Jahnke (Class of 2024) presented a classical Chinese song, “Farewell.”

Shine Yuan (Class of 2024) demonstrated her guzheng skills through a folk song titled “Red Lilies Crimson and Bright.” In contrast with the melancholic guzheng melody, the next performance by Hillary Tran (Class of 2023) was a dynamic pipa solo, “Happy Days.” Helen Ha (Class of 2024) then joined Hillary on the pipa to showcase the beauty of the “Jasmine Flower,” and “The Edelweiss Flower” bloomed with the voice of Yoyo Ji. Erica Lai (Class of 2024) closed off the Chinese section with a modern piano solo, “Tears.”

Last but not least, Hailey Tran (Class of 2024) stunned the audience with her expressive self-choreographed color guard routine to the song “Arcade.” Together with the junior high students, all the performers gathered to celebrate the finale with our school song, “Empty Space.”

Besides the remarkable performances, there were also refreshments such as hot chocolate and vegan muffins. An IT and photography team set up the recording and live streaming equipment, and the junior high students assisted in ushering.

Overall, the blend of Eastern and Western compositions provided for a diverse program– a beautiful addition to the busy month of December. The Fall Recital was a delightful experience for all, and the Music Appreciation class is looking forward to a spring recital in a few months.

Thank you to all the performers and staff who helped make this recital happen! Special thanks to Ms. Wu for her guidance and Ms. Ashley for the muffins!