In this special edition of musical moments, three highly talented piano players are in the spotlight.
Elena Turunen, Elizabeth Portolesi and Megan Beecher have all excelled in their piano studies, as well as acing their HSC music exams.
All three received honours in their last Australian Music Examination Board (AMEB) piano exams, and Elizabeth and Elena got Band 6s in their HSC, with Megan only missing a Band 6 by one measly mark.
Students of piano teacher Mary Santos, the young ladies’ passion for music is set to see them continue.
Elena, a musical star in her own right, loves performing, and has graced the stage many a time in productions such as Wicked, where she made Nessarose come alive, Beauty and the Beast, Fame, Wiz, as well as accompanying other musicians in their exams.
“As for inspirations, I always looked at Mary and I thought I’d really like to be able to play like that one day, but then I guess I am a real music theatre fan, so it tied into it a lot,” Elena said.
Her many achievements include winning the Nancy Blumer Talent Quest three times, as well as being Griffith’s Young Musician of the Year in 2013.
Coming from a musical family, Elizabeth found her forte in Grease, where the atmosphere and vibe stayed with her and gave her an insight into the joy she found performing in an ensemble.
“I love performing, I find it really thrilling and really exciting. I finally got into playing solo, it makes me feel great to make beautiful music. But the energy and atmosphere of being on stage or in the pit, it’s so much fun and a great experience to share that with other people.”
Elizabeth also played in the Nancy Blumer Quest last year saying “it was my final year and I came second, and it was like epiphany of my musical ability finally coming to something.”
Megan, currently working in a Preparatory School in Taunton England, said learning piano not only helped develop her musical skills, but provided new ways of looking at and dealing with life.
“It has been such a great opportunity, and skills like my music have proven invaluable, as I assist students with practice and preparation for performance... I cant wait to see what the rest of the year holds!” Megan said.
In the future, Elena, Elizabeth and Megan will all continue to pursue music as a hobby, however are not currently planing of any professional music pursuits.
“I would love to be able to share what I have learnt with people, whether through performance, teaching, or just tinkering on the keys with friends,” Megan said.
“I definitely want to continue it as a hobby, the university course that I am going into doesn’t allow music to be a component, but I am hoping to slip it in somewhere,” Elena said.
“I probably wouldn’t do it at a university level because I am going to study law, but I am hoping to start a band, either here in Griffith or when I move to Canberra,” Elizabeth said.
The three strongly encourage other young Griffins to find a passion, whether it be music or otherwise, and as Elena says, the key is to “stick to it”.
“I was in year two or three, and I said to mum, I don’t want to do it anymore, and she said well yes you are, and it paid off. You will get something out of it in the end, just keep going, and I did,” Elena said.
“Learning piano taught me so much, but above all, patience in your pursuits. This has not only seen my piano skills develop - from slow separate hand practice, metronomes and the dreaded tediousness of scales, but provided a new way of perceiving challenges in all areas of life,” Megan said.
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