I was quietly working on my computer in the corner table in the piano parlor room in Parrish waiting in anticipation for another student performance. Lily Wushanley ’18, standing just in front of her performance stool tuning her cello. Desta Pulley ’17, the concert organizer and a current concert and production intern at the college, set up for a tripod for the Facebook live feed. he The parlor was still fairly empty; then, sleepily, students and faculty trickled into the room eager for a happy interlude in their day as morning gave way to afternoon.
Just slightly before the clock hit twelve thirty, Lily addressed the growing crowd. According to her, not many of her friends had seen her play, so she wanted the opportunity to play a couple of her favorite pieces. For this occasion, she had chosen the first three Preludes from Bach’s Suites for unaccompanied cello. Without any hesitation, she set into her performance.
“I’m going to keep it real short,” Wushanley said.
It only took a couple of short practice strides of her bow along the strings of her golden brown cello for her to focus on the music. Within the first couple of notes, the students and teachers gathered inside the parlor room, their eyes glued to the movement of Lily’s bow and hands. Gradually, students gathered outside of the piano parlor, unable to enter due to the mass of students already blocking the entrance. Lily, with her eyes open, maintained an air of concentrated joy as she continued her performance. When the first piece came to its conclusion, the room rang with enthusiastic applause.
With only a couple short pauses in between each piece, Lily continued this flurry of unaccompanied string for little more than 15 minutes, but the intensity that it produced was unmatched. The crowd that grew beyond the entrances unintentionally blocked the hallways. A couple students within the parlor rooms closed their eyes, seemingly escaping into the world of Bach. Once Lily had concluded her performance, she gave a discreet bow to the audience and received an enormous response in the form of thunderous applause.