Fairmont Student Tickles the Ivories for Audience at Carnegie Hall

On Saturday, March 17, Fairmont Historic Anaheim 6th grader Jason D. had the opportunity to share his piano skills with the audience at Carnegie Hall.

The opportunity to perform at such a renowned venue came as a result of his first-place finish in the American Protégé International Music Talent Competition last fall. This was Jason’s second time to perform at Carnegie Hall after taking the same stage two years ago. This year, he performed Franz Liszt’s La Campanella, meaning “little bells.” He knows that his dedication and commitment to practice have helped lead him to such a possibility and was honored to be able to return to New York for the performance.

“I [had] a sense of achievement, happiness, and pride,” Jason said. “I mean, going to Carnegie Hall isn’t what everyone gets to do.”

Jason began playing the piano when he was only 4 years old, and ever since, he has enjoyed the melodious sound he is able to produce each time his fingers touch the keys. He practices daily for at least an hour and a half, performs every few months, and takes part in two to three competitions per year. He has won a number of awards, including first place at the American Association for Development of the Gifted and Talented International Young Gifted Musicians Festival “Passion of Music 2016” (which notched him the chance to play at Carnegie Hall for the first time) and the 2017 Music Teacher Association of California — Los Angeles Branch Romantic Festival.

In addition to playing the piano, Jason also enjoys math and Java (a computer-programming language), and he was thankful that his trip to New York allowed him to have some additional fun outside of the pressures of his performance — that included a visit to the Nintendo store near Times Square, where he was able to play the demonstration games.

And, even though he knows the importance of focusing on his abilities to perform well for a large crowd, he still appreciates the extra perks of being a Carnegie Hall musician that bring warmth to his heart.

“[I really loved] being able to eat free candy in the performance section and being able to look [out and see] my mom in the balcony,” he said.

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Shelby Wagner - 1st Grade Teacher Fairmont Historic AnaheimTop Teacher & Skating Champion
Shelby “My favorite part of being a teacher is the children I get to teach.”
  • Is one of the head teachers for the Fountain Valley Artistic Skating Club, teaching regional and national champions. She also teaches beginner classes every Saturday morning.
  • Every year, her students are amazed to find that their teacher has a life outside of the classroom.
“I love feeling like I’m part of a family [at Fairmont].”
Keira Kamath - 5th Grade Fairmont Anaheim HillsScience & Tennis Superstar
keira “I like how there are so many different specialty classes at Fairmont Anaheim Hills, like art, music, PE, science lab, computer lab, and Spanish.”
  • She would like to be a professional tennis player when she grows up, or maybe a doctor.
  • Loves dance and plays the piano
  • Her favorite class is science “because you get to figure out stuff, and I like to do experiments.”
Nicholas Aghaian - 7th Grade Fairmont Historic AnaheimKicking His Way to Med School
nicolas“The teachers and the amount of support they provide to not only me, but to the whole entire community here at Fairmont is probably what I like most about attending Fairmont Historic Anaheim.”
  • He would like to be a professional soccer player, or a doctor specializing in the field of sports medicine.
  • Enjoys basketball, piano, and soccer pitch.
  • His favorite subject is math “because I like to be challenged, and math is full of challenges.”
Gianluca De Gregoris – 2nd Grade Fairmont North TustinDancing Toward Greatness
dancing"What I like most about Fairmont is that I get to learn and meet new friends.”
  • He wants to be a professional dancer when he grows up.
  • Is trained in ballet and ballroom dancing.
  • Loves writing and creating new stories.
Nicole Heyman - Kindergarten Teacher Fairmont Anaheim HillsLaying a Foundation for Lifelong Learning
Nicole "The best part about teaching at Fairmont is being able to work with a diverse group of students who are all incredibly talented. It is amazing to be able to challenge students at such a young age and watch these children grow throughout the year.”
  • Loves camping, reading, and traveling
  • Her students love learning random things about her – like the fact that when she was in kindergarten she wanted to be Spiderman when she grew up.
  • Her proudest moments are the times when a student on campus is excited to see her, oftentimes telling her that she’s “the best teacher in the world.” “I live for those moments.”
“I choose to teach at Fairmont because of the sense of community, as well as the drive for our students to succeed.”
DJ Clovis - Music Teacher Fairmont North TustinRunning to the Rhythm
DJ Clovis “I get to work with amazing staff, faculty, parents, and most importantly, students!”
  • Teaches music to all grades — from pre-kindergarten through 8th grade
  • Coaches (or has coached) football, basketball, and Run Club
  • Plays bass trombone
  • NJHS Conflict Resolution Coach
  • He has run 15 marathons and 4 ultra marathons.
“The best part of teaching at Fairmont is the autonomy — being able to create a program that fits all of my students. At Fairmont North Tustin, I get to help with a lot of different activities.”