Student Piano Recital on April 21 Marks Program’s Return to Public Performance


On Thursday, April 21, the Diablo Valley College Music Department will host its seventh student piano recital since the beginning of the pandemic.

The show, which starts at 2:45 p.m. in M-101, located in the music building next to the campus lake, will feature a range of musical genres from different periods as well as singing accompaniment.

“The advanced piano class gives me extraordinary opportunities to work with the most talented pianists at DVC and the East Bay community,” said Professor Bruce Cook, who organized the event.“It’s refreshing to have them perform such a wide variety of styles, including classical, jazz, rock, and their own compositions.”

Student pianist Benny Pickard told The Inquirer he enjoys being part of a collective showcasing different kinds of music, from past and present. “I’m representing the jazz community, but then there is also the classical piano and all the different eras [including] 19th century or romantic-era pieces,” he said.

The pandemic shut down piano recitals at DVC two years ago. Student Jesus Renzo said he and Prof.  Cook had been working on a piece in early 2020 and had been unable to perform the duet until now – making Thursday’s recital all the more meaningful.

“This was supposed to be done back in May 2020, we were ready to go, but then COVID hit in March, so this was on pause for two-plus years,” said Renzo. After missing out on piano training throughout 2020 and 2021, “I finally got back on track two and a half months ago,” he added, and the process hasn’t always been easy.

“It feels like re-learning it is harder in some ways, but I am really excited to finally be able to do this.”

While the recital gives some students an opportunity to demonstrate the talent and hard practice that’s been on hiatus for so long, for others it’s simply a way for them to return to their love of music.

According to student Brian Douglas, some musicians in Prof. Cook’s class are retired and have returned to DVC to reignite their passion for piano.

“A lot of us played when we were younger, and through life’s changes you don’t get to it for a long time, but you [still] love it,” said Douglas.

“Playing a musical instrument is like that: you want to get back to it if you can.”