Evergreen Elementary School fifth-grader Garynne Glasscock, 11, of Lakebay, was one of 13 students chosen to perform in the 2017 Gig Harbor Chapter of the Washington State Music Teachers Association Honors Recital held April 1 at Discovery Baptist Church in Gig Harbor. The performing pianists were all winners of local adjudications held in March.
Garynne’s winning performance represented the best from the studio of Kassia Thompson in Gig Harbor, where she has studied piano for the last three years.
The internationally acclaimed Dr. Oksana Ezhokina, a Russian-born pianist who currently serves as chair of the piano faculty and assistant professor of music at Pacific Lutheran University, performed the duties of adjudicator this year.
An adjudication is a formal judgment of skills and an opportunity for local studios to have their best students perform in front of a world-class judge, according to Garynne’s mother, Theresa Glasscock. The more seriously the children are treated, the more seriously they tend to take it, she said.
To prepare for the recitals, each pianist memorizes two pieces. At the performance, the pianist hands the sheet music to the judge before taking a seat to play. “Sometimes the judge comes up to the piano and gives guidance on ways to improve, other times they might sit back and say, ‘That was beautiful,’” Garynne said.
“Garynne has been a strong student in my music classroom from the beginning,” said Teri Hammon, music specialist at Evergreen. “As she has grown, I have watched her become comfortable with allowing the music to possess her, expressing deep emotion as it flows through her fingers and into the air.”
One of Garynne’s resolutions this year was to work on overcoming her stage fright. “I’m doing this because I love to do it,” she said. “Focusing more on playing instead of how it’s being perceived by others really helped me a lot.”
For her adjudications, Garynne first played a classical baroque “Bourree in D-Minor” by Dennis Alexander. “My mom gave me some really good advice,” she said. “I did some theater acting and in one of them I played a fox that was trying to trick bunnies to come to my house so I could eat them. My mom suggested I should bring out that fox to play, and that imagery definitely worked for me.”
For her second selection, Garynne performed “Shepherd’s Reverie” by Martha Miller. “When I was first learning this piece, I didn’t know what the word ‘reverie’ meant, but my piano teacher looked it up on her phone,” Garynne said. “Knowing the meaning of reverie is dreamlike or daydream helped me to bring more of that feeling into the piece. I also kept thinking about how special my family is to me, and that helped too. I think I brought some of that feeling of love into the music,” she said.
“At first I liked playing faster pieces, which helps me exercise my fingers a lot,” Garynne said. “In that music, I was always striving for a crisp staccato. Now I like playing more dreamy music. It makes me slow down, which calms me on stressful days and helps me focus on my strengths and the better parts of the world.
“That’s what I love about music, you can take really any song and mix it up a little bit,” she said.
Grant and Theresa Glasscock recognized their young daughter’s interest in music early on. She was 6 years old when her family was given a piano. “She went right to it,” Theresa said. “We let our daughter show us what she was interested in and for Garynne, it’s definitely music.” She began piano lessons at the age of 8.
Garynne’s father, Grant, plays the cello. Theresa is a devoted fan of classical music and the performing arts in general. Garynne dreams of attending the Tacoma School of the Arts for high school. Her family is very supportive; even her younger brother Eamon, 9, said his sister is “pretty great.”
Following the honors recital, Theresa said, “I am beaming: not with pride, but with admiration for her. She amazes me.”