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Serendipitous Serenade
Serendipitous Serenade

English teacher Paul Epply-Schmidt happened on something beautiful at PDS -- and took the time to savor it.

On Tuesday morning I was at the PDS reception area when I heard the strains of violin music coming from down the hall. I quickly rounded the corner and discerned it was coming from the art gallery. I walked toward it and saw senior Eric Chen '19 practicing in the gallery.

Any of you that know Eric know that he is a world-class violinist -- literally -- and the music he was playing was some of the most difficult and transcendent ever written for violin (Bach Sonata, Brahms Concerto, Paganini Caprice).

For a moment, I struggled. Like everyone, I had a million things to do, but my sense of life's meaning gained the upper hand and I decided I would sit there as long as I could and simply listen. Imagine that: simply listening. After all, I reasoned, the copy machine would always be there, but how often does one have an opportunity to hear that music in this context? What worker consigned, say, to a cubicle has the chance to hear a 17-year-old prodigy play Bach... in person?

I sat transfixed for almost 40 minutes, grateful that this beautiful moment of grace had been accorded me in the midst of a busy day. A key moment was when he kept practicing and strolled around the gallery as if one of the most difficult concertos ever written were a mere folk song.

Turns out Eric was practicing for tomorrow's opening reception for the alumni architecture exhibition at the art gallery, where he and Kaito Mimura '19 will be featured musicians. (Hear Eric and Kaito at the Anne Reid '72 Art Gallery on September 13, 12:30-1:00pm. The reception is free and open to the public.)

In the spring, Eric will also perform for PDS as a Jacobson Music Scholar. I urge you not to miss it.

Contributed by Paul Epply-Schmidt
Photo caption: Eric Chen '19