Senior Daniel Chong took first place in the Western music department’s 2016 Virginia Glover Music Competition Auditions on Feb. 20 after performing his piano renditions of works by Franz Liszt and Maurice Ravel.
“They are both pieces I like and they’ll also be in my senior recital,” Chong said.
Chong has competed in the yearly music competitions hosted by the Bellingham Music Club but had never won before. Chong’s next performance will be on Thursday, March 3, in the Performing Arts Center Concert Hall starting at noon. It is a free event open to the public and given by Paul Roberts as part of a piano master class, said Jeffrey Gilliam, Chong’s music professor.
The BMC, in its 100 years of operating, allows for anyone to join, whether they are musically talented or not, said Richard Howland, the BMC publicity chair. Originally the club was called the Bellingham Women’s Music Club and was very exclusive, but now they wish for everyone who enjoys music to join.
Gilliam has known Chong for four years and said he has witnessed Chong’s improvement.
“Since coming to Western, Danny has improved by sheer hard work and by an ongoing search for the most efficient and meaningful ways to explore music,” Gilliam said in an email.
Chong didn’t always plan on attending Western. He expected to go to an out-of-state music school. Chong said he planned to take a year off after being declined by other universities. Chong applied to Western after talking with a teacher about it and was able to get in, despite it being late in the application period.
Chong started piano lessons at 7 years old. At first, Chong said he found piano to be a chore. After becoming passionate about a Japanese animation, Chong said he started to see music differently.
Chong was guided by four teachers throughout his music endeavors. His dad; his pastor who taught him how to live and treat people; his childhood music instructor and his current instructor, Gilliam.
Gilliam said even though Chong is an aspiring classical concert pianist, he is very talented at working with others as well as playing jazz and improvising.
Chong wishes to become a performer after graduating and hopes he can make a difference in someone’s life.
“The goal is to inspire and to set free,” Chong said.