Soloists Reflect on the Shanghai Music Festival

Dwight offered our student-performers a brand new adventure this year: a week-long international music festival, hosted by Shanghai Qibao Dwight High School, culminating in a concert at the historic Shanghai Concert Hall.

It was truly a Dwight family affair, as 130 students from all six Dwight campuses participated: New York, London, Seoul, Shanghai, Dubai, and online. 

Every student who performed auditioned for the global concert, entitled “Music of Spring,” just as they have in previous years, when this cross-campus collaboration came to a crescendo at Carnegie Hall! Some joined ensembles and bands — and all lent their musical sparks of genius to the global orchestra and choir. 

Four New York students were featured as vocal soloists during the rousing medleys from “A Star Is Born” and “The Greatest Showman,” which closed the concert. They reflected on their experiences visiting Shanghai, rehearsing with their peers from around the world, and on the magical moment when they stepped into the spotlight. We’re delighted to share some of their impressions here:  

This trip has truly been an experience of a lifetime. Not only did I get to experience the wonderful culture of China, but I was also able to share my music with students from all of the other Dwight campuses. Music has always been a huge part of my life. 

Spending time at Qibao [Dwight High School] was such a treat. My friends and I got to see how other Dwight students live and we made some friendships with Qibao students. They were so wonderfully kind and welcoming. – Ava Goldfarb ’21 

It's great to be a part of something where everyone comes together to focus on the same goal: music. The fact that I could meet people my age from varying cultural backgrounds, and relate to them through playing similar instruments and sharing the same passion for music, made this a very unique and special experience. – Jennifer Klein ’21 

I really enjoyed spending time with people I’ve met from Dwight Global, Seoul, Shanghai, Dubai, and London. I also spent time with a lot of kids from New York with whom I never would have spent time otherwise. … I also really enjoyed working with all of the great musicians from the international campuses. It was truly one of the most memorable experiences of the year. – Justin Chen ’21

Ninth grader Akhil Karra, who moved from Dwight School London to New York this year, had the extra treat of meeting his old friends from there, playing the piano with the New York Band — and singing with the Dwight School London Vocal Ensemble — in addition to singing a duet with Feng Zhou ’21 from Shanghai! Here’s what he shared:

This festival was much more than I could ever ask for, and I leave this trip with new friends, new thoughts, new knowledge of music, and new insights about myself and my capabilities. I loved meeting people from all of the campuses, and the faculty were so passionate and kind. I can proudly say that I have achieved my main goal for this trip: strengthen connections with old friends and make new ones. Plus, I got to play a Steinway Grand! – Akhil Karra ’22 

We applaud our soloists not only for their talent but also for their thoughtful observations!