Local Musicians With Classical Talents Prepare to Perform For the Nation - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock


Local Musicians With Classical Talents Prepare to Perform For the Nation

We know that many talented musicians from rock to country have roots here on the South Plains. But what about those musicians who have spent years studying classical music? On Tuesday, two Lubbock musicians will soon earn nationwide attention as they perform on a nationally syndicated radio show.

She plays with Prokofieff. He plays with Burton.  For nearly a decade, her fingers have danced across the piano keys. "When I was only four," Pianist Grace Cheon said.   

At the same time, his wind power has been blowing music lovers away for almost seven years. "Sixth grade. I actually started in school but fifth grade I started taking lessons," Flutist Tristan Plaut said.

Two different instruments, that will soon share center stage airing their talents on more than 200 National Public Radio stations. Both are among the best young classic musicians to be showcased on the syndicated radio show From The Top.

"I sent my application and when I got it back, I showed my mom and dad and they were like, ‘oh my gosh, you got in'," Cheon said.

Just 13-years-old, O.L. Slaton Middle School student Grace Cheon started her piano career when she was in pre-kindergarten and became a master of the basics. "I remember in the very beginning we had a techno piano, so it wasn't a like a piano and then later on we had a parallel piano," Cheon said.

However, about a year and half ago Grace took on a different sound, first with a new teacher and then with a new tool. "(It was) a grand piano Steinway. So when I came home I was like who, where'd you get that," Cheon said.

Grace says she spends between four to six hours a day in front of that Steinway. However, on this day she's in front of Texas Tech graduate and undergraduate music students to practice her From The Top music piece.

Meanwhile, Tristan Plaut continues to train both his fingers and lungs.  "When I get nervous my mouth dries out. So I need to work on that," Tristan said.

"This is the finest music in the world. Any professional flute player it would be a challenge for them to play, Frenship Band Director Tom Sorelle said.

A senior at Frenship High School, Tristan picked up flute after his brother stated playing the trumpet. "He played the trumpet I guess two years before I started, and I guess that got me interested in music," Tristan said.

However, sounds like this don't come without effort. Tristan practices at least an hour and a half a day and had played both school and for a private teacher. "I like to be the best at whatever I do. And so I work really hard to try to be good at stuff," Plaut said.

To get to center stage, Tristan and Grace have dedicated years and countless hours to music. However, away from their instruments, both are equally as talented.

"I got to school until 3 p.m. Then I golf in the afternoon anywhere from three to six hours and then come home and do homework," Tristan said. 

"I'm in tennis, NJHS National Junior Honor Society and I'm in student council," Grace said.

But come Tuesday evening, as Grace presses on the ivory keys and Tristan gives this flute a voice, these everyday students will take on role of accomplished classical musicians who, arguably, are some of the best in the country.

The live taping of From The Top begins Tuesday night at 7 p.m. in the Allen Theatre on the Texas Tech campus. Grace and Tristan are two of the five performers expected to air on public radio stations nationwide in mid December.

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