By Kevin Jiang
In an environment like South, which is filled with an abundance of talented musicians, simply being a violinist might seem ordinary. However, freshman Kenny Huang has able to emerge from the crowd after shocking everyone with his electric violin performance of “Secrets” by One Republic.
On Friday Nov. 1, South held its first annual Music Night of the 2013-2014 school year. Among the performers was Huang, who prepared to perform the electric violin for the first time before a general crowd.
Huang was first inspired to learn how to play the electric violin at the end of eighth grade, while browsing through YouTube looking for some interesting videos. Clicking on a highly viewed video, Huang was captivated as Bryson Andres, a street violinist, played “Secrets” by One Republic on his electric violin.
Drawn to the sound and the unique characteristics of the electric violin, Huang was able to purchase his own, and practiced on it for the entire summer. Huang admitted that he was very nervous just moments before performing because even though the electric violin functions similarly to an ordinary violin, there are still many differences that make it hard to master.
“The sound of the electric violin is very different and actually harder to play because it is heavier, and the shoulder rest is different which took some time for me to get used to,” Huang said.
Despite his nerves, Huang’s stunning performance was one of the highlights of Music Night.
Throughout his performance, Huang seemed fully concentrated: his eyes were closed, and his body moved with the rhythm of the music. Huang’s passion and talent also enlivened the atmosphere as many audience members began clapping their hands and even cheering for him.
Huang’s performance captured the heart of many audience members. “If I close my eyes, I can picture him performing at Lincoln Center,” said senior Neil Thivalapill.
English teacher Mr. Brian Fadde also highly commended Huang’s performance by describing it as something he had never seen before.
One of the most intriguing aspects of Huang’s performance was that even though he performed alone, it sounded as if there were an entire band playing with him. According to Huang, this effect is made by a loop pedal. When Huang pressed the loop pedal and began playing his instrument, the pedal recorded the sound. When Huang wanted to move to the next section of the music, he simply double pressed the loop pedal so even though he may have been playing a different section of the piece, the pedal played the previous recorded sound as background music. The multiple tunes playing at the same time created a concert feeling.
Aside from playing electric violin, Huang is also a great violinist, playing as the second chair of the South’s string orchestra. Huang practices violin every day and attends the Manhattan School of Music every Saturday for additional training.