Students perform in wildfires benefit concert


Used with permission of Catherine Huang

Audrey Wong, Managing Editor

To help Paradise residents, who recently experienced a devastating wildfire, seven students, three of whom were Lynbrook students — junior Catherine Huang, sophomore Grace Huh and sophomore Ryan Jia — performed in the Wildfires Benefit Concert on Nov. 25. The proceeds from the concert will go to the North Valley Music Foundation, which will purchase new instruments for Paradise students who lost their musical belongings in the recent fire.
After hearing about the damage that the fire caused, Huang felt that something needed to be done to aid the victims.
“As a pianist with friends who play music, I decided that a benefit concert would be the perfect way to help out the wildfire victims,” Huang said. “Music symbolizes healing.”
Huang planned the entire event, from contacting the performers and attendees to overseeing logistics and ticket promotion. She also created flyers to promote the event and recruit volunteers set up chairs, food and beverages for the reception.
To find the venue, Huang reached out to Ellen Chen, who had invited her to play at a young artist concert several years ago, asking whether she knew anyone who might be able to host the wildfires concert. Chen gladly opened up her house.
“When I received her email, I immediately said, ‘You’ve come to the right place — I‘d love to host your fundraiser!’” Chen said.
Huang performed solo piano pieces from her repertoire and learned new pieces for the concert. She performed “Sonata No. 2” by Sergei Rachmaninoff in B flat and G minor.
“I chose this piece because it’s so full of rich textures and raw emotion, and it fits the theme of the benefit concert well. The first movement is full of passion, fury, torment and panic; one can visualize destruction going on when listening to it,” Huang said. “That mirrors the wildfires themselves and how they destroyed everything in their path. The second movement is more reflective, tranquil and relieving, and that mirrors the healing process in the aftermath of the wildfires, where people get together to help the victims rebuild.”
Huh, a violinist, performed a piece called “Violin Concerto No. 2” in G minor, practicing every day leading up to the concert. Huh’s piece starts out mysterious, like living in fear, but then changes to warm and sweet and eventually goes back to being dark again. Like Huh, Jia heard about the event from Huang. He participated in this event because he thought that it was for a good cause that would help the community. Jia performed two pieces, “Chopin Etude” and “Prelude” by Kapustin on the piano.
“Everything you do indirectly affects others,” Jia said. “The money raised possibly changed someone’s life.”
The three all worked hard, making sure that their extensive practice would prepare them for the concert. The night before the concert, Huh and Huang practiced together to get to know each other. Both Huang and Huh each played their own solo pieces.
All the hard work and effort paid off: while the musicians’ goal was to raise $2,000, they reached two times their goal. The highlight for the performers was knowing they achieved their goal of contributing to Paradise’s relief cause, supporting fellow student musicians.