I was never musically inclined as a boy. Many moons ago, after challenges as a beginner on the clarinet, I took my deep-breaking pre-teen voice as a sign to permanently leap from music to the sociological discovery of history.
But yesterday, at the First Annual Steinway and Sons Washington Piano Competition and again hearing my two younger sons play piano along side scores of other youth in the Washington, D.C., metro region, I came to realize how much love and passion I've missed over my lifetime because of a self-imposed deterrence of music - that classical performance art.
I was awed at the richness and depth of classical piano performances in the region as scores of children performed in three divisions in two locations, from North Bethesda, Maryland, to Tysons Corner, Virginia. Fate would have it that my youngest son was the first to play in the competition as he performed as contestant number one at 8:00 a.m. in North Bethesda. Four-and-half hours later, my third son played in his division at Tysons Corner.
Though my two sons did not win any of the major prizes, they both had fun at their first ever piano competition. They walked away with a Steinway certificate for excellent performance and my wife and I got to spend a day with them under variations of Polonaise and Mazurka by the great Polish composer, Frederic Chopin.
The participants I witnessed played, performed remarkably. The pool of talent and extraordinary talent in the area of classical piano is deep. Many of the kids could fill Royal Albert and Carnegie Halls to pompous ovations. While most participants were of Asian origin, the competition underscored an opportunity for other groups to become more involved in educating and competing their children in the humanities via the performance arts and classical piano.