Mu­sic is just the medicine

The Tribune (NZ) - - ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT - RICHARD MAYS

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.’’

Cindy Xu

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.’’

PHOTO: DAVID UN­WIN/FAIR­FAX NZ

Cindy Xu is the re­cip­i­ent of the Manawatu Sav­age Club’s an­nual Achieve­ment Award for sec­ondary school mu­si­cians.

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