By Jaeyee Jung, Max Yates, and Catherine Yates

Last year, our piano trio didn’t make it past the preliminary round of Fischoff, one of the most prestigious youth chamber music competitions in the country. Because some of the best groups across the nation participate in this event, it was a little intimidating when we applied again this year. Nevertheless, we were determined to qualify, and since Max is a senior, this was our final chance.

Chamber music is different from any other music we played; it gives us a special kind of purpose. We are not playing for ourselves; members of a group rely on each other. In this way, chamber music is the most challenging and fun music we have ever played. Through playing this music, it has been fascinating to see our improvement over the past three years.

Although qualifying for Fischoff was not essential to us, it would be a satisfying testament to our growth.  After numerous coachings and rehearsals, we were ready to record.

Though we had practiced these pieces for a while, the process of actually recording them brought several challenges. For one, staying focused and motivated while playing became increasingly difficult with each recording take. Along with this required concentration, the pressure of making a mistake was prevalent and intense; unlike playing alone, playing in a group meant that messing up would jeopardize the chances of others. Nevertheless, we got our final recordings, which were indicative of the efforts that had been put into the entire process. 

On March 27th, 2021, we found out that we qualified for the second round of Fischoff: the quarterfinals! We were overjoyed and honored. 

We are so grateful for the coaches- Ms. Beilman, Dr. Lyman and Ms. Binford- and their dedication to helping us reach our maximum potential. We also appreciate the overflowing support from our parents, one of whom has been recording our pieces for the past three years. Clearly, we could not have done this on our own, and the experience revealed how impactful a community can be. NCCMI gave us a community of people to flourish in—a community that is more far-reaching than just the students and coaches; it also includes the parents and audience members from all the churches, retirement centers, and other partner organizations like the NC Symphony. NCCMI has unified a diverse group of people under a common thread, providing a significant benefit both to the children and the arts community of the Triangle.