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The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

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April 8, 2024

Student performers sing and play at Classical Me, now in its fifth year

Classical music echoed through St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church on Feb. 12 at the first of two Classical Me concerts for the year.

Junior Sam Shapiro plays "Waltz No. 4" by Domenico Dragonetti on the double bass. Classical Me gives student performers the opportunity to showcase vocal and instrumental skills. Photo by Tamar Meron.

The concert series, now in its fifth year, gives student musicians the chance to showcase vocal and instrumental skills. The evening featured 19 performers.

The show opened with a sophomore string quartet that featured Lily Sun on viola, Ben Stein-Lubrano and Sophia Caldera on violin and Claire Gasque on cello. They performed a moving rendition of the first movement of Franz Schubert’s “Death and the Maiden Quartet.” Sun also performed a viola duet with freshman Brian Slawta.

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For the past year and a half, the group has practiced together informally once a week, Gasque said.

“It’s good to have an experience performing because that really motivates us,” she said.

Solo instrumental acts included sophomore Lauren Phillips on flute and juniors Matthew Digan on trombone, Sam Shapiro on double bass and Zach Page on piano.

A highlight of the evening was the four hands piano performance by junior Conrad Mascarenhas and Walter Johnson junior Sarah Pratt. The pair delivered a dramatic duet performance of Lecuona’s “Malaguena” with pronounced rhythm and dynamic contrasts.

Mascarenhas likes the event because it gives talented students the chance to perform even if they are not enrolled in choral or instrumental programs, he said.

“A lot of students don’t really fit into the music program,” he said. “To have an event that can highlight the musical talent that a lot of students have is great.”

Juniors Ben Talisman, Nicole Ramirez and Katherine Paterson and seniors Nellie Vinograd and Aliza Daniels all delivered strong vocal performances. Junior Beatriz Atsavapranee and Lisa Deng performed violin solos, and senior Hillary Park played a flute solo.

Senior vocalist Emma Keteltas closed the show with a heartfelt and beautifully executed rendition of Henry Purcell’s aria “Hark! The Echoing Air.”

The night gives family, friends and neighbors the chance to share their love of music in a relaxed environment, music department chair Jeff Davidson said. The next performance will be May 18.

“Anything that brings students and the family together in the community is always good,” he said. “It gives kids a chance to do solos where they wouldn’t necessarily have a chance at school. It’s chill. No pressure.”

Parent Lee Talisman appreciated the chance to experience the diverse talents of the students.

“It’s a great way for kids to perform,” she said. “And it gives us a treat.”

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  • S

    SkepticalFeb 15, 2013 at 8:24 am

    Yes, clearly the editors at the Black & White online – all of whom worked under Lucy Chen last year – are prejudiced against Asian-Americans in their reporting.

  • P

    Parent of a Whitman musicianFeb 14, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    Invisible Minority?
    I do appreciate that the B&W covers Classical Me since it’s not as popular as the other musical offerings at the school. Did Conrad really say pretty much the same thing as last year, or was the quote pulled from last year’s article? In the first version of this article, almost every performer was mentioned in the article, 16 of the 19 (on the program). The 3 that were omitted were the 3 Asian-Americans who performed solos. The only Asian-American that was mentioned took part in a string quartet. Unintentional oversight, perhaps, but a really surprising coincidence. Chances of it happening randomly are p=0.001. Also ironic, since typically Asian-Americans are overrepresented in extracurricular orchestras. This sort of thing is why it’s important for newspapers to have an ombudsperson.