Her fingers glide gracefully across the keys, her movements are fluid, like water.
Sadie Bialuski is only 12 but she has the calm and peaceful presence of an “old soul” as she plays On The Lake for her music instructor, Lori Elder.
The piece she was practising on Wednesday is the one she will perform Saturday at the Piano Music for Earth Day Concert and Sale at St. Andrew’s United Church.
“The song reminds me of when I go fishing on the lake and I’m casting out,” said Bialuski, a cross-country skiier. “I like the way I can really express my emotions when I play it.”
Elder explains the piece is played as though the left hand is parting water and the right hand is a boat.
“It is called barcarolle (boating song of Venetian gondoliers) and it was very popular in the 1800s. It is this kind of fluid motion, of gently rolling water, that pianists use as a technique when they play like that. I tell my students whenever they start to play a new piece: ‘every note is scripted and choreographed. Every phrase has a plan.’”
Technical ability on the piano is important, says Elder, but so is the manner in which music is played. Bialuski has been playing piano since she was three, and she is now working on her Grade 9 piano exam. In March, she was invited to perform at the Gala event (which features best of the best performances) after adjudicators heard her play at the Prince George Music Festival.
She also received a scholarship at the event.
“Sadie is very dedicated and expressive,” said Elder.
Several of Elder’s other piano students are featured on the newly released CD, Piano Music for Earth Day, which has one of the Ancient Forest trees as cover art.
She’s proud of the results.
The theme of all the pieces on the album is related to the earth in some way.
“At the concert people will hear, live, the pieces on the CD. We’re raising money to help complete the plank pathway at the Ancient Forest. The Caledonia Ramblers are working to complete the pathway, then they plan to apply for Provincial Park status, then UNESCO World Heritage Site status.”
Elder said people are getting behind the cause and she hopes the concert will draw attention to this beautiful part of nature, right here in Prince George.
“People tell us the CD is very relaxing to listen to, or to do yoga to and just to meditate. I think it makes us reflect on how we feel when we’re out in nature.”
Piano Music for Earth Day Concert and Sale is on Saturday, April 18, starting at 2 p.m. at St. Andrew’s United Church – 3555 Fifth Ave.