Redondo Beach’s Sean Antongiorgi and Irvine’s Hannah Noh have been performing as volunteers at retirement homes for the past two years, but that halted when the novel coronavirus ended live performances.
But to continue to entertain the older adults, they began recording video recitals. Currently they have nearly 20 recitals and hope to recruit more student musicians and create a website where older adults and students can sign up to participate.
Antongiorgi said the concerts began by a recommendation from teachers at the Orange County School of the Arts Piano Conservatory, where the two are studying classical piano, to practice pieces they had never played in front an audience.
“After we did it once, I guess you could say we got hooked,” Antongiorgi said. “Our audience really appreciates what we're doing, and it's so welcoming. You can interact with the audience and see firsthand how much they love your playing.”
To receive support for their project, “Community in Concert,” they applied and were granted a Dragon Kim Fellowship with the idea to create the website.
The website, said Antongiorgi, would allow retirement homes to request recitals and then student musicians can sign up to perform.
Antongiorgi and Noh are two of 53 students from 20 high schools across the state planning more than 20 social service projects that were chosen for the fellowship, according to Grace Kim, executive director of the Dragon Kim Foundation.
“Hannah and Sean were selected from a field of talented teenagers based upon how they demonstrated their qualities of leadership, integrity, initiative, responsibility, as well as their commitment to community involvement, their academic records and letters of recommendation,” Kim said.
Grace Kim and her husband, Daniel, founded The Dragon Kim Foundation following the 2015 death of their son Dragon, who was 14 years old when a tree branch fell on him and a friend of his while they were sleeping at a campground at Yosemite.
Noh said she and Antongiorgi are hosts for the recital that has a pre-recorded introduction and a talk-show like intermission.
“We're kind of making it more engaging, instead of just showing the videos of student performances,” Noh said. “It makes it seem more like we were there live and talking to them.”
At first the students wanted to perform live Zoom sessions, but many of the senior homes said they could not do that because of technological reasons. Some of the videos are being shown on televisions throughout the senior homes or videos are emailed to them so the seniors have the option to watch on their computers or phones.
Antongiorgi said they have nearly 20 submissions from student musicians from both Los Angeles and Orange County who want to help.
For more information, email email@example.com, or visit Instagram @community_in_concert.