AVPA-M Class of 2013 Senior Music Recital: A Celebration of Music and AVPA-M

Nicholas Cho

From Left to Right: Matt Barrett, Tina Niwa, Janice Yalong, Sara D'Iorio, Laura Barreto, Emma Hathaway, Yuta Takano, Michelle Cho, and Jesse Hartov of AVPA-M Class of 2013
From Left to Right: Matt Barrett, Tina Niwa, Janice Yalong, Sara D’Iorio, Laura Barreto, Emma Hathaway, Yuta Takano, Michelle Cho, and Jesse Hartov of the AVPA-M Class of 2013. Photo courtesy of Dr. DeWitt.

On Thursday March 28, 2013, the students of the AVPA-M Class of 2013 held the first-ever AVPA-M recital at Bergen County Academies. It was a night filled with riveting performances that showcased the spectacular talent of these select seniors.

The AVPA-M Class of 2013 consists of Matt Barrett, Laura Barreto, Michelle Cho, Sarah D’Iorio, Emma Hathaway, Jesse Hartov, Tina Niwa, Yuta Takano, and Janice Yalong. Each student performed a solo piece that highlighted their individual talents while showing the diversity of musical talent within the AVPA-M Class of 2013 as a whole. There were many classical pieces, but there was also jazz fusion, indie pop, and original compositions scattered throughout the night.

After the house lights dimmed, the AVPA-M Seniors came onstage altogether to perform “Clapping Music” by Steve Reich to start off the night. Then, the recital commenced with the solo pieces.

Sara D’Iorio was the first soloist to perform, and she sang “Un Motto di Gioia” by Mozart. Her voice was powerful and emotional throughout this superb performance. Michelle Cho was next and performed “Cello Sonata No.1 in E minor Op. 38-1” by Brahms. It was a beautiful and moving performance, and as I looked around the crowd there were many dazed faces and the occasional tear in the eye.

The evening continued with Emma Hathaway performing “Sonata No. 1 in G minor – I & II” by Bach. Onstage was just Emma and her violin, yet she was able to enrapture the entire audience with her raw performance. Matt Barrett then played his own piece titled “Portentosa,” showing not only his talent on the flute but also his incredible songwriting skills.

Following Barrett’s song, Jesse Hartov played a grooving jazz fusion tune called “Straphangin’” by the Brecker Brothers. He played the tenor sax lines effortlessly, and he further showed his mastery of the instrument in his solo, gradually building up the emotion and intensity until its climactic end. Janice Yalong then performed “Polonaise in Ab major” by Chopin. Her playing was very emotional, effectively drawing out the various moods in this complex piece.

Yuta Takano then performed “Sonata in D minor Op. 40 – I and II” by Shostakovich. His fingers were flying all across the cello throughout the piece, nailing notes and harmonics with the utmost speed and precision. Tina Niwa followed with “Six Metamorphoses after Ovid, I, III, and IV” by Britten. Amidst the technical nature of this piece, she played the oboe very expressively as well. Laura Barreto played the last solo piece of the evening, a song called “Aquarius” by Regina Spektor. Her piano playing and voice made it a very enchanting performance.

To finish off the night, the AVPA-M Class of 2013 all joined each other onstage again to perform “R13,” an original composition by fellow student Jesse Hartov. The song combined as well as effectively showcased each of the student’s diverse musical talents, and it was a fitting way to end the recital.

Mr. Lemma, who founded the music department at BCA in 1994, was proud to see how far the music program at this school has grown. When the school first opened, “the band was only 10 kids, the choir 15, and the orchestra began with a string trio,” he stated. “From that point, everything grew steadily over the years to what we see every day.”

He also added that the recital “was always an idea- ever since planning AVPA 10 years ago.” So, how did this idea manifest into a reality? “The [AVPA-M] Class of 2013 is truly dynamic and they have kept me busy the last four years. So, it was a natural extension of their desire to perform in a recital like this.”

As a result, while highlighting the incredible talent of the AVPA-M Class of 2013, the recital was also a celebration of AVPA-M as a whole. The recital showed how a small music department that started off with humble beginnings in a science-oriented technical high school has developed into the large program it is today here at the Bergen County Academies- all because of the students’ love of music.

That said, Mr. Lemma hopes that this recital was not just a special one-off event. “My hope is that other classes will follow in the fine example [the AVPA-M Class of 2013] are setting as the music stewards of BCA!”

I hope so too, and I know I’m not the only one.