Congrats, 2016 Chopin Fest Winners Congrats to Chopin Festival Winners from Saturday’s annual NW Chopin Council event. Alex Camai (gold), Nile Camai (silver), Jonathan Staley (gold), and Kevin Yip (gold) got recognized for their wonderful performances.
Not everyone was.
This festival is one of the most difficult area competitions, now attracting students of very prominent teachers from other parts of the country. There were approximately 30 competitors in each category.
It is great to be chosen. However, there’s 1,001 things that go into it. Alex, for example, dreamt of getting the gold at the NW Chopin Fest. He’s been with us for ten years, worked hard, and happened to be at the right place and right time when it happened for him on Saturday. He’s also been going religiously since 2008, often playing very well, but not always being remembered. Having 30-50 participants makes it very hard to be remembered even by the most experienced judge.
Getting the gold takes more than just practice (but it takes a lot of it!). To be competitive, it takes practicing as much or more than others. It takes great guidance and instruction (obviously), but it also takes confidence, multiple run-throughs in public, sacrifice (prioritizing music), listening, immersing oneself in music, and not least of all… luck!
A performer is only in control of what he/she can control. That is preparation, discipline, passion, sacrifice, and coaching. As if that’s not already difficult enough, it also takes someone to recognize those qualities in us, and to appreciate and connect with that performance. This is where subjectivity comes in. There are hundreds of factors (psychology, personal taste, random performing order, feeling sick) about which we can do nothing but accept. As much as it is hard to swallow, there’s no guarantee the listener is going to like or agree with what they hear. This is why we have to be at the right place and right time when we have done everything possible that we can ultimately can control. Then, we must be grateful when it does happen.
In the end, it is the same for those who get decorated, and those who do not… we simply go back to practicing, and go back to enjoying music. Because, ultimately, who cares if some Mr. or Mrs. “X” like our playing? It’s we, ourselves, who experience the music from minute to minute, day by day, throughout our entire lives. And, like one of our friends says, “Competitions are like buses. If you miss this one, there’s always another one coming in five minutes.”