Good Afternoon and Welcome!
Thank you dining services for a wonderful lunch and all those who help organize this fine event.
I cannot think of a better place to be, before I leave on Wednesday for Europe – for the next few months for my concerts there – I am happy to be here and feel a sense of renewal.
It is so nice seeing so many familiar faces – and I have to say we all look Great 10 years older and wiser!
Time has an ability to sooth, comfort, nurture, and mature us. It also allows us to set goals, take risk and achieve. These fundamentals have open many opportunites for me over the past 10 years. Ambition is not enough – it is a necessity.
My memories at SU and Winchester are fond. The sense of community is a life course, which one could not be taught in a classroom. This was made apparent to me, when I played at Carnegie Hall and over 8 alumnus attended and 10 people from the community-at-large made their journey to NYC and also today with all those in attendance – this support is immeasurable and I am grateful!
There are sooooo many people who have influenced me directly and indirectly – you will never know what influence you may have on a stranger. My minister gave a sermon one Sunday and it spoke volumes to me, she said, “You never return back home the same, as when you left it.” – it is so true. Think of how many experiences you’ve had just getting here today – the simple things. You may be indirectly influenced by a stranger’s conversation, smile, or gesture or directly influenced by a friend, family member, teacher or colleague.
SU was my home for six years and what is home? Home is the place that helps us become who we are and challenges us to become more.
My mentor, advisor, and friend, “Mama T”, AKA Elizabeth Temple – she was steadfast with her constant patience, guidance and care. We spent countless hours in the studio and in conversation. Not only is she a wonderful teacher, pianist and musician, but most of all – a good person. A person who is committed to Shenandoah, the community, her colleagues, her students and to music.
Karen Walker – I appreciate your passion and enthusiasm for Bach’s Goldberg Variations. I have recalled that particular piano literature class often this past year – as I am on a year-long tour w/the Goldberg Variations. Your fondest for Glenn Gould’s 1981 recording and the mesmerizing recording of Vladimir Feltsmen was the seed of this masterpiece in my mind. – I just needed to mature – to understand it greatness.
Sue Boyd, your gentle and kind spirit is a delight. It was a nice balm to sooth over those nerves in prehearings and juries – thank you!
My coaches, Frederic Chiu, Paul Ostrovsky and Samuel Bartos – Thank you for always demanding the best of me and developing my artistic potential to a higher level.
Rick, I am thankful for your support and insight. When I think of Robert Frost’s poem entitled, “The Road Not Taken,” I feel the support of someone who is on my side, who understands what life’s choices are like, someone who says, “I’ve been there and it’s okay to go on.” Frost writes, “I shall be telling this with a sigh…Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”
To my parents – thanks for always respecting my creativity and letting me discover who I am.
My dad was an insurance salesmen when I was a kid and he had cases of shaving cream – well we had a field behind our house and I thought one Saturday morning that I would create a “real” football field for my friends and I to play on. So I took every can of shaving cream and lined the field every 10 yards – wow, what a football game.
I was playing dentist – and convinced my younger cousin to lie on the ironing board and I would inspect her teeth w/a nutcracker, nut pick and dental pick. I then decided that she needed a retainer and made her one of paper clips. – What a smile she has.
My mom – you have sacrificed and always provided the best for us. A mother’s love is the greatest gift of all – I love you and thanks for believing in me.
Big Bud (my step-dad) did you ever imagine that keyboard from Radio Shack you gave me on Christmas Day 1987 would have changed the direction of my life? Thank you for my 1st musical instrument.
My sister Rhonda, your patience’s for me practicing into the wee hours of the morning is honorable. You have always helped and provided for me – I am grateful and proud of you.
Music is one of the most powerful things. It makes you smile, laugh, cry, relax, meditate, and much more. The sounds captivate our hearts, penetrates our souls, and stimulates our spirits – it is a life long journey of discovery. Something so intangible, but yet so real. The nostalgia of a particular piece or song, can automatically take us to a memory of the past, a place, a person, a scent, a landscape, and an event. Music is living through each note and knowing that each time it is played – it is played differently.
When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece. Thank you God for making me an instrument of your masterpieces.
To all those here, away and around the world, I am honored and blessed to have your continued support- thank you for letting me live my dreams.