Lee Cataluna: Musician plans big for no-rest holiday
A year ago college student Chris Yick had a big idea. The ‘Iolani class of 2016 alumnus wanted to set up a nonprofit organization to bring chamber music experiences and education to Hawaii.
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A year ago college student Chris Yick had a big idea. The ‘Iolani class of 2016 alumnus wanted to set up a nonprofit organization to bring chamber music experiences and education to Hawaii. He drew up plans to bring world-class musicians to Honolulu to give free workshops to students and to perform for the community in small, up-close settings. The plan was pretty audacious. Yick wasn’t going to wait until he graduated from Mercer University in Macon, Ga., to do it. He was going to do it immediately, while he was still in school, in between finals and concerts and college social life.
So far, the 20-year-old is right on track. In January he brought violinist Robert McDuffie to Honolulu to give a free master class for violin students. He organized a free concert with McDuffie and Hawai‘i Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Ignace Jang, which drew an overflow audience of 250 people. In March, Yick flew home from Georgia to hold a seminar with professional double bass players and 23 students. In May, once the school year was over, he was back in Hawaii to produce a concert he called “Distinguished Artists of Hawaii” which raised money and gathered supplies for victims of the Kauai flood.
Every time he has a break from school, he comes home and makes something happen. Over summer he organized chamber orchestra performances in nursing homes and did a benefit concert for people affected by the eruption in Puna, Amazing, right? All most kids do during trips home from college is sleep and eat.
Winter break is coming and Yick has been busy planning. His Hawaii Chamber Music Festival (HCMF) is holding a series of events to celebrate the first year of Yick’s big dream. Along with visiting nursing homes and playing for the Iolani Palace nighttime holiday tours, Yick is organizing a concert to bring chamber music to the west side of Oahu.
He’s calling it “1234” because the concert will consist of solos, duets, trios and quartets. The event will be held Dec. 21 at American Renaissance Academy in Kapolei.
“Growing the community’s exposure to appreciation of classical music on the West Side of Oahu as well as building great connections with world-class classical musicians has been our dream for several years,” said Chris Lowe, director of performing arts at the school. The musicians will include Yick on bass, Tchaikovsky Competition-winning violinist Eric Silberger, pianist Minji Nam and students Chelsea Cline on violin, Tyler Katsura on viola and Catie Kaneshiro on cello. Tickets are $15 for students and $20 for general admission, and are available online or at the door. He has other concerts planned over winter break, including a fundraiser for Common Grace, a mentorship nonprofit, and a concert by violinist Silsberger.
On a personal note, I knew Yick as a student when I taught at ‘Iolani. He stood out in a room of standout kids, though one of my strongest memories of him was that he was often late to class in the morning even though he lived right next to campus because, he would lament, “The damn elevator in my building is so slow.”
He’s moving pretty fast now.
For more information on all events from HCMF’s winter series, visit its website at hawaiicmf.org.
Reach Lee Cataluna at 529-4315 or email@example.com.