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May 31, 2011 > Solo concert dedicated to Mock Trial team

Solo concert dedicated to Mock Trial team

Submitted By Luke Zhang, Photo by Morgan Gutierrez, American High School

Editor's Note: Luke Zhang writes of his recent piano concert benefit on behalf of the Mock Trial team at American High School in Fremont, which he attends. Here is his article:


There comes a time in every pianist's career when he is required to give a solo concert - a rite of passage of rhythm and phrases; a graduation of melodies and an initiation of chords. It is an event signifying a coming-of-age, a chance to formally showcase years of musical training in front of friends and family. Departing from the usual concert halls and auditoriums, I decided to turn my solo concert into something more. On the evening of Friday, May 13, I performed my solo concert at American High School in Fremont. As a sophomore at American, I have a wide variety of passions and chose to dedicate this performance as a benefit concert for my beloved Mock Trial team.

Mock Trial is an academic competition in which teams of students from different schools compete in an authentic courtroom setting. With real case material, a presiding judge, actual attorney scorers, and suits and ties, formalities are developed and enforced to give the feel of an actual trial. Positions ranging from bailiff and clerk to attorneys and witnesses are portrayed by the students as they argue their cases from a given fact situation, witness statements, and stipulations.

Mock Trial develops and refines public speaking skills and puts students' critical thinking abilities to the test. In only our second year, the American High School Mock Trial team placed second in the Alameda County finals. As a prosecution attorney, I had the privilege of being exposed to the world of law, a truly inspiring experience which encourages my dream of becoming a lawyer. After spending fifteen-plus hours a week devoted to my team, it is clear how much they mean to me and why I would dedicate my performance to my new family.

Classically focused, my concert featured works by Rachmaninoff, Chopin, Beethoven, Doppler, Scriabin, and Liszt, along with the occasional Disney tune. The last song, the classic "A Whole New World" from Aladdin featured flute virtuoso Sally Lin and the extraordinary vocalists Yobiel Kelati and Devon Simpson.

During the duration of the performance, the Mock Trial team hosted a bake sale, selling concessions. Additionally, they helped with selling tickets and ushering, setting up and tearing down sets afterwards. I would like to take a moment to thank each and every one of them for their indispensable efforts, as well as Robert Engel of Pianos Plus in Castro Valley for a generous donation of a C7 piano, transportation, set-up and pick-up. Yet, my genuine gratitude forever lies with three people: my mother, my father, and my piano teacher, because without them this event never would have been such a magnificent success.

Not only did I enjoy performing, but over two hundred and fifty people came to show their support and crowded into the school's Multi-Use Room. All sorts of brownies, cookies, and other delicious treats were munched on as people enjoyed a night of music, food, and fun, with all proceeds benefitting the American High School Mock Trial team.

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