EL CENTRO — Music Director Joel Jacklich and the Imperial Valley Symphony presented violinist Christina Myung Jin Kim as soloist in Henri Wieniawski’s Violin Concerto No. 2; and the world premiere of Joel Jacklich’s “Chorale and Variations;” and Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s “Mozartiana,” conducted by Dr. Matthew Busse, during the 43rd Season of the Imperial Valley Symphony concert on Saturday evening, March 25, at Jimmie Cannon Performing Arts Theatre, Southwest High School in El Centro.
In the eyes of a Isabella Gerardo, 12, her violin teacher, Christina Kim, is the greatest violinist. In fact, at Kim’s invitation the child attended Isabella was accompanied by her supportive mother, Ruth Gerardo, to watch the concert. They sat seven rows from the stage. It was a good view of the entire orchestra. And as an incentive to the community, the concert admission was free.
Isabella could have done other things that evening. However, her teacher’s invitation was irresistible. “Miss Kim invited me to her concert.” Gerardo takes violin lessons from Christina Kim who teaches the ASES Orchestra at Heber Elementary School. According to the school’s website, ASES, is an acronym for After School Education and Safety Program, which is a grant-funded program that provides academic tutoring after regular school hours. Isabella has been taking violin lessons since September of 2016.
Indeed, Christina Kim left a big note in the heart of her student. After watching the concert, Isabella said, “She is a tremendously good violinist. She is my instructor in violin.”
Kim played a violin solo of the three movements of Violin Concerto No.2 in D Minor by Henri Wieniawski from memory.
The event program describes Kim as a violinist who has won competitions in Korea and in the United States of America. She has performed solo, chamber, and orchestra works in Korea, USA, Austria and Sweden. Kim is currently a doctoral candidate in violin performance at Indiana University where she had professional orchestra experiences. Kim is currently teaching at Heber School ASES Orchestra and gives private lessons.
Ruth Gerardo was so impressed by her daughter’s violin teacher she could hear herself repeating the description. “Miss Kim did wonderful, wonderful, beautiful, beautiful. I’ve never heard anybody like that.”
Ruth was so moved that she also desires other parents do likewise. “They should put their children in music from a young age. And that helps them with their education and progress going forward with their music education.”
Another student did a solo, too. Nicole Shue, a senior at Southwest high, played the fourth movement —Theme and variations— along with clarinetist Brandilyn Davidson — of Suite No. 4 “Mozartiana” by Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky.
Shue had been playing violin these past seven years. Her solo performance this evening was conducted by Matthew Busse, her orchestra director at Southwest High School. According to Busse, participation in the orchestra class is by audition only. Again, on May 27 of this year, Shue will play as a soloist.
At the beginning of the program Joel Jacklich, founding musical director and conductor of Imperial Valley Symphony, explained to the audience the rules of concert etiquette. Of paramount importance is maintaining silence and avoiding any distractions to the musicians and others in the audience. One source of irritation is the ubiquitous cell phone ring tones.
Jacklich featured and conducted his own composition at the start of the program, Chorale and Five Variations. His composing started in 1968 as an assignment in his arranging class where he was instructed to harmonize the piece the way J.S. Bach would have. Almost fifty years later, in 2016, he rearranged his chorale (church hymn) melody for brass and submitted it as an entry to a composition contest. Chorale and Five Variations won second place in the Sons of Sibelius brass competition.