The first week of classes for the spring semester rapidly drew to a close and was made apparent by the steadily dwindling amount of people, both students and faculty alike. The fine arts building was relatively empty except for a few choir and orchestra classes and students meeting with musical professors to set up practice sessions for the semester.
Shaquan Hayes, a Senior in the Musical Arts department, was running through last minute adjustments with his accompanying pianist, Erica Gillette.
Hayes takes rehearsal seriously. Playing instruments since 2002, he started with the flute before picking up the piccolo. He possesses a focus in his eyes as he directs the pianist to moments he wanted to iron out from quickly running through every piece he chose to perform, switching from his flute to his trusted piccolo. “Actually, even though I’ve been playing the flute for longer, I’m really much more comfortable with the piccolo,” Hayes said.
Meanwhile, Hayes is also directing the stage hands on the placement of chairs and music stands for his final piece. Even before the lights were dimmed and a spotlight beamed brightly onto the stage, it was clear this was his moment.
The recital itself came and went in an expected flawless fashion, but what stood out was the fact that although Hayes selflessly gave up center stage on multiple accounts, including the final piece being a trio with piano accompaniment, the attention never once wavered from Hayes’ performance.
Hayes’ performance gained rave reviews from his colleagues.” I thought he exemplified a mastery over the classical arts which is really tough, because classical music is all about perfection.” raved another senior in Armstrong’s fine arts department. He also went on to applaud Hayes’ level of skill using the piccolo in his second piece of the concert. “It was fantastic, piccolo is one of the hardest instruments to play in tune, and he mastered it.”
Hayes shared time after the concert with close family and friends. He claimed to feel a mixture of nerves and relief. “I’m just so excited it’s over,” he said.
Others agreed and expressed how powerful the performance was. “It was by far the most memorable moment, it was very moving, you could feel the passion in the music, the dedication to his craft,” commented Elton, a sophomore from the Fine Arts Department.
After graduation, Hayes would like to teach, and maybe play in the Disney Orchestra.