Thursday, October 28, 2010

Appreciating talent

Didn’t make it to New York last week? Did you ever miss out! Approximately 30 members of the Bluffton community gathered for a “Meet us in New York” event centered around a Thursday evening piano recital in historic Steinway Hall.

Four Bluffton students, pianists Brandon Fullenkamp (Wapakoneta, Ohio), Stephanie Patterson (Findlay, Ohio) and Tim Yoder (Dalton, Ohio) and composer James Brake (Ohio City, Ohio), had their New York City debut in Steinway Hall during this event.

Friday evening President Harder and Karen Klassen Harder hosted a dinner at Sardi’s. My husband and I were seated with three of the four student performers. What a treat. By the time we gathered for dinner, the students’ New York experience was drawing to a close.

Knowing I had a follow-up news release to write come Monday morning, I started asking questions. Actually, I asked one question, sat back and took notes as the conversation started to flow. “What was the best thing about this experience?” What was interesting was that everybody picked up on a different highlight, the Steinway tour, a backstage tour of a Broadway show, the Broadway show itself.

Then I put my pen away and enjoyed one of the many highlights of the experience for me; just getting to know these students a bit better. The conversation ranged from the various Hogwarts Houses from Harry Potter (this one went over my head), to what each of our strengths are according to the Strengths Finder survey taken during First-Year Seminar, to goals and dreams for the future, to Brake family stories. There was a lot of laughter and sharing of desserts.

I know I’ve written several times in this blog that our students are the best. This belief has once again been confirmed. The students represented themselves, the music department and Bluffton University very well during the recital and throughout the week. During the recital I noticed my sports-minded husband getting into the music. When I asked him about it later he simply said, “I appreciate talent.”

Roughly four years ago professors Lucia Unrau and Michelle Latour presented a faculty recital in Steinway Hall for the first “Meet us in New York” event. Will there be a third event? Possibly. Will it be next year? Most likely not.

But if and when you learn about another New York alumni event, be sure to take advantage of the opportunity to see our students in action. You’ll not be disappointed. In the meanwhile, you are always invited to performances in the elegant Yoder Recital Hall. (Shameless plug: James Brake and Tim Yoder will present their junior recital Nov. 14 on campus. music calendar)

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