Annual Honors Recital Ends on A Good Note


(Photo by Chloe Choi)

Amber Chen, Editor-in-Chief

Bright yellow lights pierced through an otherwise dark auditorium. As a storm raged outside, live music flooded the room, captivating an audience of hundreds. 

On Feb. 24, the PVHS music department held its annual honors recital. Featuring 13 performances, the recital showcased various soloists and student-led small ensembles. 

For student musicians, the annual honors recital is an opportunity to demonstrate their talents to a community rather than a musically-trained audience. 

Since she usually performs for competitions, sophomore violinist and violist Zoe Barton viewed the honors recital as a low-stress occasion to perform for her friends.

“The honors recital was an opportunity to perform for people who don’t usually hear what I do,” Barton said. “I usually perform elsewhere, not often at school, so most of my friends rarely hear me.”

Junior and multi-instrumentalist Vanya Agrawal, another seasoned performer, shared what she loves about performing. 

“I think having an audience honestly makes me do better,” Agrawal said. “When performing, you feel a lot more energy, you feel the mood, which is very different from rehearsing. You feel elevated. It’s an entirely different atmosphere.” 

Barton enjoys performing as a way to share her unique artistic rendering of centuries-old pieces of classical music.

“There’s something about performing music that’s been around for hundreds and hundreds of years, with thousands of different interpretations, when you get to show your own interpretation to the audience and try to help them feel that with you,” Barton said. “Introducing people to [my interpretation of a piece] and making them realize that classical music is super cool is what I enjoy most about performing.” 

The honors recital offered students opportunities to step outside their comfort zones. In addition to soloing on a classical piece, Barton also performed the genre-bending anthem “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

“I had a lot of fun playing ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ even though it was outside of what I usually do. Everyone knows ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ so it was fun to show the audience a piece that they all knew and had memories associated with. 

While student selections of well-known pieces united the audience, the honors recital also imparted a greater appreciation of musical diversity upon the audience.

Not only did the recital exhibit classical, jazz and rock songs, it also introduced the audience to Hindi music. 

Accompanied by five other musicians, Agrawal sang while playing the harmonium, a South Asian wind instrument that resembles a keyboard. 

Agrawal shared the reason why she chose to perform the Hindustani classic, “Raag Puriya Dhanashree,” for the recital. 

“Most people are only familiar with Western music, but music is so diverse, and I really wanted people to be able to see that when they came to the honors recital,” Agrawal said. 

“Through the piece I performed, I wanted to showcase the key differences between Indian classical music and Western music.”