Music to our ears: two students win music scholarship

George Wang, Staff writer

Seniors Bishop Bell and Frederick Chiu received the San Gabriel Valley Music Scholarship of $500 from the West Covina Woman’s Club.

The prerequisite of applying for the scholarship include applicants having plans to continue pursuing music after high school. Both Bell and Chiu were recommended by music directors Katelyn Takahashi and Corey Wicks. 

“I don’t know if [music] is going to be my major yet, but I plan on maybe doing an outside jazz band, and I also do have a band with my sister,” Bell said. “I’m glad I was given the opportunity to apply and eventually win this scholarship as it will help with things like buying a new instrument or getting guitar lessons.” 

To receive this scholarship, applicants went through a tryout process in which they performed a music piece of their choice. Tryouts were separated into sections including classical vocal, classical instrument, pop vocal and pop instrument. 

Bell performed in the pop instrument section by doing a guitar duo with his dad, playing “Rock with You” by Michael Jackson and “If I Got You” by Alicia Keys. Chiu performed in the classical instrument section, playing “Pastoral” by Nikolai Kapustin and “Ocean Etude” by Frédéric Chopin on the piano. The participants are then judged for the emotional and technical aspects of their performance. 

“I think what made me stand out amongst other applicants was a blend of having my talent be shown in the past and that I was working in close tandem with the two directors,” Chiu said. “It’s about preparing yourself mentally, knowing that you are well prepared and that even your muscle memory can perform it.”

Bell and Chiu both began music at a young age. Bell started playing the piano at the age of 6, being taught by his father. From then on, he learned how to play the guitar and drums, accumulating more skills as a musician. For Chiu, he’s been playing the piano for over 13 years competitively, in addition to participating in the middle school orchestra and high school Symphonic Orchestra.

“In order to get better at something, you have to be passionate about it. There needs to be some determination to get better,” Bell said. “Practice makes perfect. I always have lessons to make sure I get better.” 

This fall, Chiu will be attending Johns Hopkins University, specifically the Peabody Institute, the university’s music program. As for Bell, he plans on attending the honors program at Mount San Antonio College, where he plans to transfer to UCLA or UCI.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future,” Chiu said. “But I want to continue as a musician [and] give the audience a performance. It’s not all just for the end product. It’s the process that really helps a lot.”