The Blind Pianist

An article written by Demi Aileen Romero of BABRC 4-2

 

“Piano is a part of my life,” said the pianist during our talk.

I have often wandered from location to location thinking that everyone around me is as mundane as I am. Everyone was trying to get by, wanting to believe that they are special, wanting to believe that they are different. Still, there is one thing in my life that could take away the dullness of my existence…music. As I walk through Shang ri la mall covering the 11th Spring Film Festival, an event held in celebration of the Chinese New Year of the Rooster, it was required of me to be interested in everyday mundaneness so I could take it into account to write an article. Obviously, the main event of this was the film viewing happening in the Cineplex, but I was more interest in the Chinese Musical Concert happening at the Grand Atrium. I was a bit too interested, in fact, that I came in so early that I chanced upon the performers rehearsing.

dsc_0574Philippine Cultural College Glee Club performing Xi Yuan Bie Li Tie—Photo by Demi Romero

Passed the various shades of red, a color appropriately celebrating the Chinese New Year, taking center stage to perform various Chinese songs, one particular male caught my attention. He was wearing sunglasses, and a red and white plaid, long-sleeved, button-down shirt, and brown chinos. He was clinging onto a woman much older than he was, that one would presume, as I did, that the woman was his mother. He was then assisted on the piano near the stage. He was practicing the official sound track from the film “My Sassy Girl” entitled “I Believe” and he seemed uninterested from everything aside the piano. I duly noted in my head that I would wait for his performance, because from the way he is handled, I knew there was something different about him.

1His performance on stage.—Photo by Demi Romero

My interest in him peeked when he got up on stage to perform the piece Turkish March among Can’t Take My Eyes off of You. I approached him and the woman assisting him, who introduced herself as Stephanie Que, his piano instructor at Kidstar Learning Center. I had long confirmed my suspicion that he was visually impaired. I’ve found out that his lack of sight is cause by Retinopathy of prematurity, a disease that affects premature babies.  It causes abnormal blood vessels to grow in the retina, the layer of nerve tissue in the eye that enables us to see. This growth can cause the retina to detach from the back of the eye, leading to blindness. The fact that he performed Turkish March at a level, a level that I could not beat even in my best days, struck me in awe.

With the support of his mother he has started to play the piano when he was three years old and practiced every day for three hours since then. She decided to have him take lessons because he would be attracted to play pianos at the mall at a young age. He performs modern songs, pop songs, classics, and OPMs with different renditions at various stages for schools and events either public or private. Teacher Stephanie has favored an anecdote where he had an impromptu performance at Rockwell mall. He was attracted to the sound of a grand piano since this was the first time he had heard this instrument play live. He asked the man hired for the job if he could play some tunes, and the man allowed him for some reason. The young pianist played several Celine Dion songs and started to attract an audience, more so than the hired pianist.

This was when they confirmed that he had talent. By the age of seven, they considered him to have a perfect pitch, as he was able to name a note by its tune instantly and he was able to play a melody merely by hearing it. He aspires to have a long performance one day at the theater of the Cultural Center of the Philippines of a repertoire with at least ten songs. Not only that, but he hopes to create musical sheets in brail for people who have similar cases as him.

He’s a pianist. He’s seventeen. He name is Albert Cedric Tan.

You can reach him through his Facebook linked below:

https://www.facebook.com/albertcedrictan/

 

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