Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Latest News

May 17, 2013

Navarro College students to attend prestigious piano academy

Corsicana — They’re different as daylight and dark — she loves soccer and history, he loves math and science. She hails from Flower Mound, he from Malaysia. She is bubbly, outgoing and excited; he is a bit shy, somewhat reserved.

But when their plane lands in Vienna, Austria, Reilly Fetzko and Jie “Jeff” Fang Goh will be two Navarro College students in a sea of international students, all there for one thing — the piano.

The Vienna International  Piano Academy is a prestigious honor, and the fortunate few students who get to participate are treated to private lessons, master classes, and a final concert. Also included are tours of composer’s homes, famous museums, Baroque castles, gardens, and other historic sites.

Michelle Lassiter, piano instructor at Navarro College, studied under world renowned artist in residence at Baylor University, Dr. Krassimira Jordan. While still judging some top piano competitions, Dr. Jordan is the director and coordinator of Vienna International Piano Academy. It is an invitation only, summer academy, and she contacted Lassiter to see if she had any students who were worthwhile.

Lassiter herself had been to Vienna the last four summers, but this summer, will be performing in England and France during that period. So, she selected two top piano students she knew would make Navarro College proud in this environment.

“This is probably the first time students from a school this small will go,” Lassiter said. “I was the first and only American to go the first time I went. The times after that, there were a few other Americans, but mostly the pianists are from places like Hong Kong, Croatia, Germany, Japan and Korea.”

Another first for this Vienna International Piano Academy is that two American instructors will be there to teach lessons, one from Stephen F. Austin University and one from Southern Methodist University.

During the period of June 8 to 24, not only will the Academy be going on in Vienna, but the International Beethoven Contest will have other top pianists in town for that competition, as well.

“I was thrilled,” said piano instructor Christina Mims of Navarro College. “This is such a unique, great opportunity for these students. Dr. Jordan is not known for choosing outside her circle.”

Dr. Tommy Stringer of Navarro College pointed out that some funding for Fetzko and Goh’s trip comes from a scholarship in memory of Oliver Albritton, and administered by his wife, Helen. He wanted the money to go for student travel opportunities abroad, and the money will aid with their airfare, tuition and more, just as he wished.

“This trip might not be possible otherwise,” Mims said. “This will be a cultural experience which will mature them, and open their eyes to a new way of thinking, which is what college is all about. It is also a high level of ability in the pianists around them, which will inspire them to reach higher goals.”

Goh, who just graduated from Navarro College in May with a 4.0 every semester he attended, is scheduled to begin classes at Baylor University in the fall.

“I think this is a golden opportunity for me,” Goh said. “It is my first time traveling to Europe, and the first time to attend the musical academy, and my first time to learn from a renowned musician, and visit the world’s greatest musical capitol — an experience to behold!

“Coming to America has opened so many doors for me. Where I came from, music was my hobby. I was a math major, taking calculus, physics. Ms. Mims really encouraged me with my music.”

In Malaysia, “Jeff” was geared more toward engineering through math and science, and had never played on anything other than an upright piano. He wasn’t exposed to much music, and considered his more of a hobby than anything.

“I got lots of first-hand experience here,” he said. “The first time I played a grand piano ... to hear such a beautiful sound coming from my hands. I also joined the choir, and have made lots of friends. I really enjoy it.

“I thank Ms. Lassiter for giving me this opportunity.”

Mims pointed out that Goh will study with Jordan when he starts Baylor in the fall. He believes himself to be fortunate in that he has parents who supported him in his individuality, and in exploring all his gifts.

On the other hand, Reilly Fetzko is a soccer player who loves history just as much, and aspires to become a history teacher with a private music studio one day. She said juggling soccer, history and music is challenging, but rewarding and fulfilling.

Hailing from Flower Mound, the Marcus High School graduate began taking piano in the second grade, and continued her lessons with Lisa Johnson until she reached 10th grade, when her teacher moved away. She admits to being confused about the path her music would take after that.

“I got with a UNT grad student, and their program is different,” Fetzko said. “She stopped teaching and I stopped playing, but my mom was upset with me for not using my gift.”

Fetzko came to Navarro College to play soccer for Coach Debbie Bonner, who had no idea what to do with a soccer player with interest in piano, so she sent her to Nancy Harwell, who introduced her to Lassiter.

“We clicked from the start,” said Fetzko of Lassiter. “She’s a huge blessing to me. And this scholarship from Mr. Albritton is a blessing. I never anticipated taking my music this far. I am playing difficult pieces I never knew I would play.”

Fetzko said one day Lassiter came in positively giddy, and asked her if she wanted to go to Vienna. Though Fetzko had been to Greece, Italy, Spain, London and Germany on a three-month history trip, she has never been so excited in her life as she is about the Vienna trip.

“I love history, music and English!” she bubbled. “I’ve always wanted to go to Vienna, Austria. I have family roots there, my Dad speaks fluent German. I’m most excited about learning, and even though the people will be speaking other languages, we will be able to communicate through the universal language of music, which is phenomenal.”

A tour of Mozart’s home in Salzburg is high on Fetzko’s agenda, and she’s prepared to make a video journal of their trip to share with other music students at Navarro and with Mrs. Albritton upon their return.

“I’m excited for the food!” Fetzko exclaimed. “I’ve eaten octopus in Europe before, it tastes just like chicken! And the shopping! The museums! And there is a huge theme park in Vienna where the first Ferris Wheel is!”

“I’m containing my excitement until I get there,” Goh said, drolly.

Lassiter said the students will have a lesson every other day, as well as master lessons, and they will sit in on other masters classes.

“I really wish our teachers were going,” Fetzko said. “I thank Dr. Stringer, Mrs. Albritton, Dr. Jordan, and Navarro College.”

(two photos, one from Jeremy Pereira, one by DKirk)

 

1
Text Only
Latest News
  • Mills place pool Home, sweet home

    Judy and Wayne Nelson had a family of visitors last week — the daughter and grandchildren of the architect who designed their 1927 house on Mills Place.

    July 25, 2014 4 Photos

  • police stock photo Six arrested following drug raid

    Six people were arrested following the execution of a search warrant Thursday night by the Corsicana Police Department’s narcotics detectives, patrol officers and a Navarro County Sheriff’s deputy who works as a courtesy officer for the Arbors Apartment, 1300 N. 45th St.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-25-14 AgriLife additions.jpg AgriLife adds two new agents to Navarro office

    It’s been awhile since the AgriLife Extension office in Navarro County has been fully staffed, but it’s going great guns now.
    New to the staff are Meredith DeBorde, and Lorie Stovall, who will be heading up the 4-H programs and the family and consumer programs, respectively.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sheriff seeks salary shuffle

    Navarro County Sheriff Elmer Tanner went to the County Commissioner’s budget workshop Thursday to ask for a change of how his officers are compensated, or, alternately, an 8 percent across-the-board raise.

    July 24, 2014

  • 7-25-14 CAC boat.jpg Floating a big fundraiser idea

    The big night is fast approaching for the 10 Grand Country Jam, an Aug. 2 fundraiser for the Child Advocates of Navarro County. What will make it a big night is the grand prize, a $31,000 pontoon boat.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Candelario Garcia Jr. (main) Honoring a hero

    Since March of this year, the family of Candelario Garcia Jr. has been so proud of him, they could burst.

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • County Budget Commissioners start budget process

    The Navarro County Commissioner’s Court held its first budget workshop Wednesday, the first of a dozen or more over the next month or so.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-23-14 pianos main.jpg Public pianos invite players

    Corsicana has always been a musical town, with emphasis on country and western, rock and roll, bluegrass and Gospel, but now the parks and recreation department is moving towards bringing music to the masses in a different way. They’re going to put pianos downtown, on the sidewalks for anyone to play at random.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Navarro County 4-H Club holds event

    Texas A&M AgriLife Extention will hold Summer Exploration Days at the Navarro County Expo on Tuesday, July 29 from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.

    July 22, 2014

  • New date for IPL Job Fair announced

    Tarrant Regional Water District IPL (integrated pipe line) Project will hold a Job Fair from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014 at The Cook Center.

    July 22, 2014

AP Video
Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites
Twitter Updates