Young Pianist Stages Benefit Concert for Haiti

Rieko Tsuchida with her older sister and fellow From the Top alum Mayumi.

Like many, 15-year-old Bay-area pianist Rieko Tsuchida was deeply saddened by the disaster in Haiti and inspired to take action. With just three days of planning, she and friend Jonah Hopton, turned their musical talents into a means of raising money for the American Red Cross. We are so proud of her efforts.

In her own words, here’s how she did it:

We began contacting various local churches last week and got a call back from the Mt. Tamalpais United Methodist Church on Wednesday night (luckily for me, that church had just invested in a brand new Steinway B).  With only about three days until our concert was on, tenor Jonah Hopton and I frantically started making flyers and announcing the concert at school, on facebook, through e-mails, phone calls, etc.  I had come up with the idea of the concert, and so I was nervous when I was put in charge of organizing everything!  Jonah and I managed to come up with a great program ranging from Bach and Handel to Chopin and Ravel.

It was a total surprise on the day of the event when over 150 people showed up, crammed into the church sanctuary!  The audience consisted of people from the local senior citizen home, parents who came with their young children after seeing the flyers around town, kids my age, and church members.  One thing they all had in common was their love for music and their willingness to help others in need.

The feedback was so positive and various people came up to us afterwards asking if we could perform at their organizations and venues.  Lots of people from our high school showed up, too, which was so great! Some were friends, but others just came with their families.  I wasn’t expecting that, as 99% of the people at my school don’t listen to classical music, ever.  In total, we raised $2,432 and counting.  Some people were so impressed with the concert that they promised to send more money!  Jonah and I will be sending all our proceeds to Haiti via the American Red Cross Society.

All in all, I would say this concert was even better than planned, especially with only three days to put it together! Thank you again to each of you who came.  This never could have happened without the support of you all.

Rieko will appear on From the Top’s broadcast taping in Santa Barbara tomorrow evening with her piano trio, the Soleil Trio.