The UC Piano and the Will to Perform

By Kyle Gentner, Opinion Editor—

Just about every day at the University Center, around afternoon time, the sound of piano rings outside the bookstore, down to the game room, and all the way to the Financial Aid office.

Tunes as classic as Mozart, as pop as Ed Sheeran, and everything in between are beautifully performed.

That’s right, “beautifully.” I chose my words carefully there. Every once in a while, you do get the foolish gang of two or three that laughs and cringely plays “Mary Had a Little Lamb…” But it’s not as often as the talent that echoes with poise.

But who is it that’s playing every day? How are they so talented? And why do they play so often?

Whenever I catch a master on the bench, it always looks to be a student: a young adult with a backpack on or beside the piano. And go figure; with the stresses of college, who wouldn’t want to unwind with a couple bops in between classes?

Something else that’s worthy to note though, is every one of these courageous characters always seems to be alone. Why? It makes it all the more mysterious. If I was as talented at piano as some of these people, it would take at least a couple of friends beside me to share the view when people glance to see who’s playing. But no, they are consistently alone up there with no one around.

I’m not a musician of any instrument, but as I mentioned before, I could see how playing one in the middle of the day could relax the brain. Still, why else would someone risk embarrassment to play for hundreds of noisy, hungry college students?

I was getting dinner the other day with a new friend of mine that’s rushing the same fraternity I’m in. He was a vocal performance major. He told me there were only about 15 other students in his entire department. I was shocked. He got into telling me why he performs musical theatre and choir, and his answer was simple: to see people happy. He told me about an upcoming production from a local theatre he’s involved in. There was one part in particular my friend was so excited about it. It was his chance to dramatically look out and see the faces of the audience light up with joy. He said that is the reason he will perform wherever life takes him. And that must be why the daring students at the piano play away.

With a fine arts department as small as ours, you wouldn’t expect a piano to be in the campus hub in the first place! But at some point in our school’s history, the school either put funds toward, or was donated a classic grand piano. It was a risk they took, and let me tell you, it has paid off.

Kyle Gentner

Kyle Gentner

Opinion Editor

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