Urging the audience to snap along, piano seniors Joshua Lumaban and Arthur Schofield play a song inspired by the movie “Monsters Inc.” During their piece, they drew the audience in as they switched spots and ran around each other throughout the song. “I haven’t played a duet with AJ since last year,” Lumaban said. “We chose the piece because we watched a YouTube video and actually really liked what the YouTube video showed us.”
Playing At An Impromptu Ianpromptu
Impromptu showcases student renditions of music ranging from Disney songs to video game soundtracks
At Ianpromptu, also known as XImpromptu, or Impromptu, rhythms played on piano keys are not just the melodies of renowned classical composers. The performers’ usual attire of suits and gowns are replaced by costumes and new outfits. Instead, the tunes of Billy Joel and anime soundtracks fill the Brandt Black Box theater. Piano seniors Josh Lumaban and Arthur Schofield, both dressed in Mike and Sully onesies, lead audience members to clap in unison to the “Monsters Inc.” theme.
For the past twelve years, the annual Impromptu concert has provided piano students with the opportunity to perform a piece of their choice and collaborate with other students in composition and on stage.
“I think it’s the most casual and the most student-driven recital of the year,” piano junior Jacob Liu said. “This is the one where the kids play pieces for stuff they’re passionate (about) and interested in.”
Impromptu’s original opening night and some preceding rehearsals were canceled due to Hurricane Ian. After reworking the schedule, on Friday, Sept. 30, Impromptu opened to a full house. Each row in the black box theater was crowded with family, friends, and other students. For piano freshman Nicholas Stan, this was a new experience, having to adjust to a duet with piano freshman Simon Lin and his first performance on campus.
“I was nervous, but it was great to perform in a different environment for the first time and to be welcomed by all the other seniors, juniors, and sophomores,” Stan said. “Here, you have much more freedom. The magic of Impromptu is it lets you play whatever you want in comparison (to other concerts).”
For theatre senior Devyn Humble, it was her first time handling the lighting technology in the black box theater. Humble took requests from each performer before the show. Initially, Humble was going to be briefed on the technology a few days before the concert, but due to cancellations, Humble had to learn the system hours before Impromptu’s opening, leading it to be “a bit stressful.”
“I love watching our band performances,” Humble said. “They’re very talented, and it’s very impressive because I do not have that coordination, so watching other people have the coordination and appreciating it is nice.”
The concert was “bittersweet” for some piano seniors and their families since this might be the last Impromptu performance they will attend.
“It was definitely emotional, not just for her (my daughter), but for the whole group because they have been so tight since middle school,” Raija Kilpinen, piano senior Lilli Theisen’s parent, said. “We’re gonna miss it because it’s such a nice, relaxed, and fun atmosphere, so I feel jealous of the other families that get to enjoy this for a few more years.”
As each new grade of performers puts their own spin on Impromptu, one thing remains constant over the years: the personal expression of each performer.
“I would say to all the first-time performers, just enjoy your time there,” piano junior David Nguyen said. “At my first (in-person performance), I definitely was a little nervous. After I played, all that stress disappeared.”