Back to Bach | March 24, 2006 | Pleasanton Weekly | |

Pleasanton Weekly

Arts & Entertainment - March 24, 2006

Back to Bach

Fourth grade student is chosen to play in Junior Bach Festival

by Rebecca Guyon

Getting an invitation to play at the annual Junior Bach Festival is no easy task, which is why Christine Xu, 9, was ecstatic when she found out she was chosen to play in this year's festival. The acceptance was even sweeter because when she auditioned last year, she wasn't picked. Now, this fourth grade student at Mohr Elementary School will have the chance to show her piano-playing skills during a performance at 3 p.m., Saturday, March 25 at St. John's Presbyterian Church in Berkeley. The concert is one in a series of concerts being performed from Friday, March 17-Sunday, March 26.

"I remember that last time, when I didn't make it, I went to the concert and everyone was so good at playing piano," Christine said.

Even though she didn't make it last year, she wasn't discouraged because just getting an invitation to audition is an honor. Christine takes private lessons in Pleasanton and her teacher, a former Junior Bach performer, chooses five of her best students to audition each year. Christine is the only one of her students who has ever been invited to perform.

"My teacher tells us to do it every year and it is fun, even though I get sort of nervous when I do it." Christine said.

The audition is an intimidating process. Held on the UC Berkeley campus, students perform four Bach pieces while a panel of four judges made up of UC Berkeley professors and local music teachers sits behind a curtain and rates each performance. Over the course of three days, 215 students from across the Bay Area try out, but in the end only a handful are picked.

Despite this intense competition, Jack Xu, Christine's father, said Christine doesn't play piano for the recognition, but because she truly enjoys it.

"It's just for fun, and if there is a chance for her to play, it is good for her," he said, adding that she plays for at least an hour every day because she loves it so much. "When I play piano, it's like, if I get in an argument, I just forget about the argument," Christine said. And even though this upcoming concert is all about Bach, Christine added that she plays a lot of pieces and likes all of them.

For Christine, playing the piano is more than a casual hobby, it's something she loves, and she looks forward to putting her talents on display during the upcoming Junior Bach Festival.

About the Junior Bach Festival

The 53rd Junior Bach Festival selects young musicians ages 7-21 to perform in the week-long festival showcasing instrumental and choral music by Johann Sebastian Bach. This year's festival is from Friday, March 17-Sunday, March 26. The festival is held in March every year to honor Bach's birthday, which is March 21. Show locations are in Berkeley at St. John's Presbyterian Church, College Avenue and Garber Street; The Crowden School, Sacramento and Rose streets; and The Berkeley Piano Club, 2724 Haste St. Visit for individual concert details or call (510) 843-BACH for more information.


Posted by Rose, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Aug 15, 2007 at 1:55 pm

Christine rocks! she is so cool! Go puffed paper stars

Posted by Lillian, a resident of Mohr Park
on Aug 27, 2007 at 11:41 am

Go Christine I knew you would make it

Posted by Rose, a resident of Mohr Park
on Sep 2, 2007 at 9:37 am

Moo ha ha ha ha Embrace the crazy creepy croopies!

Posted by Rose, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Feb 8, 2008 at 1:34 pm

Yay christine, i didn't know u were in the newspaper