Arts & Entertainment

Scotch Plains Musicians to Perform at Special Graduation Recital on June 6

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Daniel Shenker, sax; Marisa Li, cello; Victoria Tian, flute; Mira Yang, viola; Divya Narayanan, flutist; Samantha Sprechman, soprano; Ethan Marmolejos, tuba; to perform June 6, 7:30 p.m. in Westfield Credits: Gerald A Shea
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WESTFIELD, NJ -- Soprano Samantha Sprechman of Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School will be a featured performer when the Junior Musical Club of Westfield holds its annual Graduation Recital at the First Baptist Church (170 Elm Street, Westfield) on Wednesday, June 6, at 7:30 p.m. The concert is free and open to the public and celebrates high school seniors in the club about to leave for college.

Samantha will sing “Many Moons Ago” (from Once Upon a Mattress), “For Good” (from Wicked), and “Il Bianco e Dolce Cigno,” a 16th century madrigal. She has studied with voice teachers Jan Allen, Deborah Eberts and Sarah Blood. She was chosen as vocalist for the Moonglowers, the award winning high school jazz band.

At SPFHS, she sang as an ensemble member in Grease and in The Mystery of Edwin Drood, as Ms. Merkle in Bye Bye Birdie, and as the Minstrel in Once Upon a Mattress. In private productions, she was Miss Hannigan in Annie, and a member of the octet in Babes in Arms. Samantha will be attending Temple University in the fall with a major in biochemistry.

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Flutist Victoria Tian of the Union County Academy for Allied Health Sciences, will play Camille Saint-Saëns' Romance, Op. 37 on the flute accompanied by Beverly Shea, piano; She will also play piano for Saint-Saëns' "The Swan" from The Carnival of the Animals with Marisa Li, cello.

Victoria has been a member of the New Jersey Youth Symphony's Flute Forum ensemble and Fortissimo Flutes ensemble, as well as the flutist for the Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School Moonglowers. She received first class honors with distinction and the highest score in the tri-state area on the Level 7 Royal Conservatory of Music Flute Exam. She will attend Cornell University and major in Global and Public Health Sciences.

Other performers are:

Violinist Suraj Chandran, the Wardlaw-Hartridge School, will present J. S. Bach's Violin Sonata, No. 1, BWV 1001, Movements 1. Adagio, 2. Fugue, and 4. Presto. He has studied violin under Ms. Debra Biderman. At Wardlaw-Hartridge, his teachers were Mr. Rick Fontaine, band, and Mrs. Sharon Byrne, choir. Suraj plays violin for the Greater Newark Academy Orchestra and alto saxophone in the Wardlaw-Hartridge band. He will attend the University of Pennsylvania in the fall.

Cellist Marisa Li, Westfield High School, will perform Gabriel Fauré's Élégie, Op.24, accompanied by Beverly Shea, and she will join Victoria Tian, piano, to play Camille Saint-Saëns' "The Swan" from The Carnival of the Animals. Marisa has played with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra's Academy Orchestra, the Westfield High School Chamber Orchestra, and the Music from China Youth Orchestra, including a performance at Carnegie Hall. She will attend Bentley University and major in Computer Information Systems and Economics-Finance.

Tuba player Ethan Marmolejos of Watchung Hills Regional High School will perform selections from Walter S. Hartley's Suite for Unaccompanied Tuba. He will be joined by Suraj Chandran, violin, to play P. D. Q. Bach's The Only Piece Ever Written for Violin and Tuba. He is a recipient of the 2018 Governor's Award in Arts Education and will attend Carnegie Mellon University with a major in Music Performance.

Flutist Divya Narayanan of the Union County Academy for Allied Health Sciences, will join pianist Mira Yang to play Debussy's The Girl with the Flaxen Hair. She has played flute for nine years and has studied with Mrs. Chia Hsiu Wang for three. For seven years, she has been a member of the New Jersey Youth Symphony. She successfully completed Levels 5 through 10 of the Royal Conservatory Music Development Program and is a two-time National Gold Medal Winner. She will attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and study Music and Neuroscience.

Pianist and alto saxophone player Daniel Shenker of Westfield High School, will perform J. S. Bach's Prelude and Fugue, No. 12: Prelude in F minor and Chopin's Mazurka Op. 67, No. 4 on piano and Benjamin Britten's Six Metamorphoses after Ovid, Mvt. 1 (Pan). Daniel played in the Westfield High School Wind Ensemble and was a Westfield High School Concerto Competition Winner. He will attend Johns Hopkins University and major in Applied Mathematics.

Violist and pianist Mira Yang of the Union County Magnet High School, will play Rachmaninoff’s Etude-Tableux #7 in G minor on piano and will join Divya Narayanan, flute, to present Claude Debussy’s The Girl with the Flaxen Hair. Mira has performed in Carnegie Hall eight times and received a Diploma in Social Music from the National Piano Guild. Outside of music, she was a Google Code-in Grand Prize Winner, Science Olympiad medal winner, writing award recipient, and the winner of community service scholarships. Mira will attend Northwestern and Feinberg School of Medicine’s Honors Program in Medical Education.

The concert will be followed by a reception to greet the artists, to congratulate them on their success in high school, and to offer every good wish as they start their university years.

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