Music is just the medicine
This year’s Savage Club annual Music Achievement Award went to multitalented musician Cindy Xu.
The 17-year-old, year 13 music prefect at Palmerston North Girls’ High started learning piano in Whanganui aged 5, moving to Palmerston North three years later.
When she was 12, she started on the violin.
A member of the Manawatu Youth Orchestra, where she played second violin, Xu successfully auditioned as a pianist for the 2016 New Zealand Secondary Schools’ Symphony Orchestra.
Her piano teacher, Barbara Jones, who put in the nomination for the Savage Club award, said the young musician acquitted herself well during the NZSSSO’s public concert in Christchurch on piano and celesta.
‘‘It’s a good thing to know about the history of each period.’’
A celesta looks somewhat like an upright piano, but the hammers attached to the keyboard strike metal plates instead of strings making for a more mellow sound.
Xu was also a member of the Girls’ High choir The Cantatrices that entered this year’s national Big Sing choral competition.
She played in the school’s String Orchestra, and was a member of the band for the combined Boys’ and Girls’ High production of Happy Days earlier this year.
‘‘I like all styles of music - Bach, Beethoven, romantic, modern. It’s a good thing to know about the history of each period.’’
Xu recently sat her ATCL Trinity College exams, but will have to wait a couple of months for the results. Meantime, there are her final round of NCEA exams to concentrate on.
This end of her year though was tinged with sadness, with the death of her first Palmerston North music teacher Margaret Cloake. Xu played a piece by Brahms at the funeral in the Broadway Cathedral of the Holy Spirit as a tribute.
While her music successes look promising, Xu is not planning a musical career. Instead she is focused on a medical one. There are no plans to ditch music, but it will have to play second fiddle to her studies.
‘‘I’m going to study medicine at Auckland University, but I will continue with music as a hobby.
‘‘I know a lot of people going into medicine who play instruments, and I guess that can be quite stress relieving.’’
Cindy Xu is the recipient of the Manawatu Savage Club’s annual Achievement Award for secondary school musicians.