The Sterling Middle School band was silenced Thursday, Nov. 16. Students put down there French horns, saxophones and electric guitars at 3:30 p.m. to listen to nationally accomplished jazz pianist Farid Barron.
Barron played a couple of numbers on the school’s piano. His fingers raced up and down the keyboard.
"He’s so good!" Brian Loy, an sixth-grader at Sterling Middle School said.
Barron has played on 13 continents, at Lincoln Center in New York, and toured with the United States Air Force band.
That’s where he met Sterling Middle School band director Robert Roche 13 years ago.
Roche proposed the idea of bringing Barron to Sterling Middle School for National Education Week, Nov. 12 through Nov. 18, to the school's PTA members as a way to expose the students to a professional musician.
Band members’ parents liked the idea. They raised money and made donations to bring Barron from his New Jersey home to the Sterling school.
"We wanted to bring someone special to the school," Lyn Loy, PTA member, said. "This is a way for students to see dreams do come true. It’s a way for them to grow a little bit, musically."
LOY HAS BEEN playing the piano for seven years. He was inspired by the private show.
"It’s hard to put how I felt into words. Seeing him makes me really want to practice," he said. "I hope I can be as good, if not better than him someday."
Fellow pianist and classmate Jackline Yim sat next to Barron during his performance. Her eyes were glued to his hands.
Her mother, Young Yim, watched Barron from the back of the classroom.
"This is a good chance to see what she can become," Young Yim said. "This is better than a concert. It’s a private concert."
Young Yim said she takes her children to concerts to show them what they can achieve if they keep up the hard work. Barron’s performance did just that, she said.
THE STERLING MIDDLE School jazz band performed for Barron at the end of his show.
The nationally accomplished pianist moved around the room, pointing to different students and asking them to play for him. He critiqued their sound and gave them tips.
Barron had a message for the students.
"This should always be fun," he said. "Play for your own enjoyment. If it feels like work, you might consider trying something else."
Barron took time to visit the middle school, he said, because he wanted to share his love of music with the students.
"They’re so excited to play and they’re eager to learn," he said. "The students inspire me."