From the Top at Blue Oak School in Yountville

The day after we taped Show #225 in Yountville, California, the From the Top Education Team visited the beautiful Blue Oak School with performer and clarinetist Perry Choi. The team spent time with 35 third to fifth graders who take music from teacher Kim Markovich.

Perry teaching about the clarinet

Despite being only 18 years old, Perry runs a non-profit organization called Keeping Music Alive that provides lessons and instruments to elementary school students free of charge. Perry’s Arts Leadership mission is to share his passion for music with children who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford lessons.

For the presentation at Blue Oak, Perry performed a variety of pieces, including excerpts from Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A Major to the Pink Panther. He then spoke about the clarinet and how it works to make music, engaging his audience through demonstrations and sound. Perry also shared more about Keeping Music Alive and the importance of using music to make a difference in your community.

The audience was extremely attentive throughout the presentation, and had excellent questions and observations to share with Perry at the end.

One third grader later said about the performance: “I was so inspired by his playing that I have decided I want to play the French horn and am saving up for an instrument.”

As the school’s main music teacher, Kim Markovich couldn’t have been happier: “It was such a pleasure to hear Perry talk. In debriefing with the students, I was gratified that they heard and recognized the nuances of Perry’s playing. First hand experiences of such amazing music making from an ‘almost contemporary’ are rare and such a privilege for our students.”

Perry performing for the kids

Perry was also really excited about the visit: “I wanted to stay there much longer! The kids were attentive, the environment inviting, and the experience fulfilling…I wish them all the best and hope to see them again sometime.”

Be sure to read more about the show on our website (show airs February 7), and check out Perry’s Keeping Music Alive here.