MONTVILLE, NJ - The newly formed Montville Chinese Community Youth Club held its first event, a violin and piano concert at the library Aug. 3.

The club, founded by eighth graders Darren Zou and Elise Ao, is designed to inspire the young generation to contribute to the community, they told the assembly.

Montville resident and Chinese philanthropist Margaret Lam introduced the group, and congratulated them on their first event. She said that she, too, had played the piano when she was young, but then pursued volleyball and broken her finger, which precluded further piano playing. She won awards for her volleyball skills but was regretful that her music pursuits had to end.

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Montville Township Board of Education Member Karen Cortellino also encouraged the group to continue to pursue music.

“Music is so important when a child is inclined,” she said. “My daughter’s piano teacher taught her from an early age, using pieces of candy on the keys, and it became her respite. Later, she played at my sister’s wedding.”

Zou told TAP into Montville he gathered friends from Lazar Middle School, where he is a student, and Chinese school, to play in the concert, which included violin and piano pieces, plus Zou’s piece, a Bach piece he played on the cello.

“My teacher helped me pick this piece, plus I had heard friends play it,” he said.

He has been playing the cello since the fourth grade.

Other pieces included Chengnan Li’s impressive rendition of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata Opus number 17, and Kevin Li playing Mozart’s Sonata k 545 Movement 1.

Modern songs included Cindy Chen playing Hisaishi’s “Summer,” and Elise Ao playing “Great Wall of China.”

Sixth grader Oliver Zhang played the “Star Wars” theme because, “I like it and it’s pretty easy for me,” he said.

Brian Yang told TAP into Montville he was excited to play Beethoven’s Für Elise and he had been practicing “really hard.”

Scipio Han played a Chopin piece on the piano early in the concert. The almost-9-year-old has been taking piano for about two years and will be a fourth grader at Valley View in September. He said he couldn’t pick his favorite song but his favorite types are classical and twentieth century pieces. Later in the concert he played a duet with Stacy Wang, who played the violin on Saint-Saens’ Concerto #3 in B minor.

To see snippets from the youths’ performances, click: