February 23, 2024

In a small room inside the Shelby and Ferne Collinsworth School of Performing Arts, the sounds of the violin, cello and piano all blend together and harmonize into perfect songs. On Jan. 27, the JinHee Trio performed classical and modern works for CBU students and faculty, one of many concerts the university puts on throughout the year. 

Dr. JinHee Kim, who teaches violin at CBU, played the violin for this performance. She was accompanied by Dr. Marek Szpakiewicz on the cello and Dr. Susan Boettger on the piano. They presented pieces by Antonín Dvořák and Paul Scheonfield. All three professors fromdifferent colleges decided to visit each one and perform the JinHee Trio concert. 

By the remarkable level of their playing, one would expect them to have spent countless hours practicing. However, they spent most of their time practicing independently and rehearsed together only three times before the performance. 

Josselyn Guillen | CBU Banner Dr. JinHee Kim plays classical and modern work on her violin at CBU’s JinHee Trio concert on Jan. 27. 

Noelani Kiu, junior English major, attended the JinHee Trio Concert because of her love of classical music. 

“Watching the musicians brings the music to life,” Kiu said. “The Dvorak piece has some really lovely segments that complement the violin and the cello very well, and the cafe music had elements of jazz and blues, which was so much fun. I would definitely recommend it to other students because the professors do such a wonderful job, and it is beautiful to hear them play.” 

Dr. Susan Boettger, director of the keyboard program at Irvine Valley College, has played the same pieces before with other musicians, but she said there was something special about this particular trio. 

“It’s an old friend, these pieces. So it’s just a matter of figuring out exactly what the other person wants to do and we’ve always had great chemistry. When we play it tends to just work,” Boettger said.

It can be nerve-racking to perform on stage by yourself. However, Szpakiewicz, director of String Studies and Chamber Music at Azusa Pacific University, expressed how much he enjoyed playing with other musicians. 

“It feels like a team, and it’s exciting when you have high-level musicians, and then you enjoy the creativity together,” Szpakiewicz said. “We just make an effort, and that’s it. We get together and have a good time.”

Rhett Warner, senior philosophy major, particularly enjoyed the JinHee Trio Concert because of how the musicians actively engaged with the students in the audience. 

“My favorite parts were the musicians’ friendliness and the intimacy of their performances,” Warner said. “Being up close to moving instruments handled by brilliant artists is fascinating. I recommend these events to any student.”

There is always an element of surprise when it comes to these concerts even for the musicians themselves. Although they may have practiced together, the pieces are never performed exactly the same. There is some improvisation and spontaneity that goes into playing the pieces. 

Josselyn Guillen | CBU Banner Dr. Marek Szpakiewics, director of String Studies and Chamber Music at Azusa Pacific University, plays the cello at CBU.

“You have a lot of possibilities and opportunities to create a moment,” Szpakiewicz. “So if I’m playing and then I decide I’m going to do something different, they’re like, ‘Oh, what’s happening now?’ But then they see, ‘ok, you want to do something special here.’ And they follow. That’s part of the communication,” Szpakiewicz said.

Boettger enjoyed being able to communicate with the audience during the concert. She addressed the crowd to ask students what their favorite songs were that the musicians played. 

“It was wonderful,” Boettger said. “It was really great to see everyone. It was something very intimate because it is a smaller room. So you can really kind of see people’s reactions. I enjoyed being able to talk to everyone and hear their feedback.” 

CBU’s School of Performing Arts hosts several music concerts throughout the school year. One of these ongoing events is the Faculty Artist Series, where CBU students can come and show support for their professors. In the next couple of upcoming performances, Aristides Rivas will be playing the cello on Feb. 10 and Dan St. Marseille will be playing the saxophone on March 21. 

These musicians tend to get great enjoyment out of playing for students. It is an opportunity to share the unfiltered beauty that music can create in a shared space among those who also love music.  

“That’s what it’s about. That’s what we live for. The hours of practice and preparation are for the opportunity to share with people,” Szpakiewicz said. “This is just such a special, precious moment.” 

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