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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Senior makes solo debut

When senior Aaron Garg walked into the spotlight of the McAfee Center on Sept. 28, he instantly felt all eyes turn on him. He was calm and focused as he prepared to begin his solo concert. As the orchestra behind him started to play, Garg lifted his Chinese flute and began the first song. Finally, after months of dedicated practice, his moment was here.

In the show, Garg performed his solo debut “A Musical Journey Through East and West.” The California Youth Chinese Symphony (CYCS), a Chinese orchestra with about 50 members that uses traditional Chinese music and instruments, accompanied Garg.

To showcase his talent and musical diversity, Garg performed a combination of Eastern and Western instruments and music. He played the flute, piccolo and seven traditional Chinese woodwind instruments for a total of 12 solo songs.

“The concert was a huge event for me,” said Garg, “but I felt pretty comfortable because I’m used to performing a lot.”

Garg got started in music in sixth grade, when he joined the Redwood Middle School band. From there, it became his favorite class and he has continued playing and enjoying music ever since.

“Music is a passion for me,” said Garg. “It’s a good way to express myself and get my feelings out. Nowadays it’s a really important part of my life.”

Garg’s performance experience comes from his participation in concerts for both the Saratoga High band and CYCS, which is conducted by Jian Ding, who is also Garg’s private Chinese flute teacher. Garg is able to play the flute and piccolo in band, and the several Chinese woodwind
instruments in CYCS.

Garg was also part of the Chinese American Cooperation Council (CACC), a one-time group that traveled to Beijing during the summer of 2007, where it performed as one of many groups in an Olympic kickoff event. Garg was one of the lead musicians and was also able to play solo.

“There were a lot of complications, but I think for the most part it was a fun experience,” said Garg. “We had a great time and got to see places like the Great Wall of China. Part of it was even aired on national television.”

Garg, who is half Indian and half Chinese, first began learning Chinese instruments four years ago, when he started playing the Chinese flute, in part because he already played the western flute. He also picked up six other Chinese woodwind instruments last spring, in preparation for his solo debut.

“It takes a lot of time and devotion to play this many instruments,” said Garg. “My teacher wanted me to practice three hours a day, but usually I don’t have enough time so I would shoot for 1 ½ hours.”

Despite lacking the time to practice these instruments as much as he would like, Garg has become amazingly skilled.

“The Chinese instruments are really fun to play,” said Garg. “I’m definitely going to continue playing them in the future.”

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