“When I¿retired from Southern Methodist (University) in Dallas, I was doing one every couple years, just to keep my abilities up, my technique, because I¿enjoyed playing and I just carried on the tradition here (after moving to Winchester),” Cooper said.
The students will open for Cooper at 6:55 p.m., with performances including everything from “Fishy Story” by 6-year-old Cooper Kincaid to “You Raise Me Up” by 17-year-old Kayla Finley.
Kohl has known Cooper for several years and said she knew he would be receptive to the idea of sharing the stage with young musicians. When she asked him if her students could play at the concert, he quickly agreed, Kohl said. All Cardinal Music Conservatory students were invited to participate, and Kohl said students were not chosen based on skill level.
“I think it’s a wonderful encouragement for the students to be able to practice on a wonderful piano in a recital hall. I just thought it was a great idea,”¿Cooper said.
“They all just want to give their gifts to the audience,” Kohl said.
Since school began in August, Kohl has been prepping the students for the concert.
“All the kids are well prepared,” Kohl said.
Preparation has included lessons on stage presence, the appropriate way to bow and perfecting pauses.
“There’s a whole art to it,”¿Kohl said.
Kayla Finley admitted she is nervous about performing in front of such a large audience, but she enjoys the music and has been practicing on her church’s grand piano to ready herself.
“Kayla is a sweetheart. She’s a very diligent student,” Kohl said.
Cooper Kincaid also is a little nervous, but he said playing “Yankee Doodle” at Calvary Christian School’s talent show helped him get used to the idea of performing for an audience.
“I just like to play music,”¿he said.
The first grade student first began music lessons after requesting them for his fourth birthday and said “Fishy Story” is the hardest song he knows.
Other performers include Zach Grissom, Ethan Hagnauer, Andrew Clark, Laykin Griffith, Colin Martin, Logan Pelfrey, Andrew Roberts, Jacey Griffith, Tirzah Schanding and Naomi Schanding.
Playing in front of an audience is a great way for students to learn to focus on the music, and block out distractions, Cooper said.
“I think it’s definitely important. Every opportunity to perform, they get a little less nervous ... and hopefully become unaware of the audience and just focus on the piece that they’re playing, and play it to the best of their ability,” Cooper said.
As a teacher, Kohl said she is proud of her students and hopes they can apply the discipline of music to other areas of their lives.
“I’m not a music teacher,”¿Kohl said. “I’m a life coach and I¿use the discipline of music.”
Contact Rachel Parsons at firstname.lastname@example.org.