Crying eyes and a loud applause filled the room as Mike Kestler ended the final song of his 14-piece set at Trilogy of Glen Ivy in Corona Feb. 10.
The concert featured Kestler, junior music composition major at California Baptist University, solo on piano. Sarah Horn, vocalist and CBU alumna, accompanied him for two songs, “Over the Rainbow” and “I Love a Piano.”
Kestler began by playing patriotic songs to pay homage to the veterans in every branch of service. The songs included “God Bless America,” “Oh Shenandoah” and “America, America.”
Between pieces, Kestler shared stories of how he started playing the piano at his great-grandmother’s home where he lived, and finally started lessons at age 8 after begging his parents.
“This journey has been hard and a lot of work, but nights like tonight make it worth it,” Kestler said. “My inspiration for tonight was the people. I have played in their church for about a year now, and I wanted to be a blessing.”
Horn, who is best known for the viral video of her singing with “Wicked” star Kristin Chenoweth at the Hollywood Bowl, said she was honored to sing beside him at his first solo concert.
“Musically, I only trust two people to accompany me at a performance,” Horn said. “Mike is one of them. I could not be more proud of him. ”
Valentin Mendez, junior political science and philosophy double major, was one of the many in attendance.
“It was a really good concert. He put a lot of effort into it, and it really paid off,” Mendez said. “The best thing was he used his talents to glorify God.”