Young Musicians Perform at Carnegie Hall

Young Musicians Perform at Carnegie Hall

Several students from Smithfield’s DoReMi Music Academy have emerged victorious after playing the piano at New York City’s famed Carnegie Hall.

Getting the opportunity to perform alongside musicians from all over the country, as well as other countries, was an experience the young musicians will never forget.

“We all went at different times (to Carnegie Hall),” said Eliz Ohanian. “Me and Gracie went around the same time. She was 10. I was 11. I was super nervous at first. It was a huge audience, a huge stage. It was a new experience but it was exciting even though it was kind of nerve-wracking.”

Gracie and Eliz are now attending college. Eliz was invited to perform in Japan and Gracie was invited to perform in Italy.

Nabiel and Shaamiel Malik are twin brothers and are also multiple winners in the Carnegie Hall competitions. The brothers have been invited to perform in China.

“It’s an experience we’ve never had before and I’m really excited for it,” said Nabiel.

The young musicians have very supportive families.

“My Dad’s always the one who drives us to our competitions in New York,” Shaamiel said. “I remember the first time I went to Carnegie; my mom was there too and my Dad started crying in the audience.”

The brothers work as a team and give each other encouragement and support during the competitions.

“We also drive each other to do better with our duets,” Shaamiel explained.

The students offer some valuable advice for aspiring musicians.

“Obviously it’s important to practice and keep up with it every day,” Gracie said. “Even when you feel discouraged, don’t quit right away. There have been songs that were really hard for me to learn. I’m so glad I stuck with it and I kept practicing and pushing through even at the times I felt discouraged.”

DoReMi’s owner and director Nana Grace has been teaching piano for over 20 years. She is also the music director of the State of Rhode Island Crescendo International Competition, and Little Mozart and Student Exchange Program.

Grace received her musical education as a classical pianist from Russia at Asaf Zeynally Music College and later attended Lomonosov Moscow State University with a Bachelors’ degree in Faculty Fine and Performing Arts.

Grace has tremendous respect for her students and what they have achieved.

“They are the most amazing musicians, the most amazing people,” she said. “Some of them have never played before, some of them started when they were young. Everyone has different experience with music. I am very blessed and thankful for everyone who (plays) in this studio.”

The students at DoReMi perform at charity concerts in Smithfield and perform in talent shows as well. They also work in a summer music camp.

“We have musical art, we have musical math,” Grace noted. “They start while they were my students. It’s the best thing. I raised my own teachers.”

For the students, music has become not just a part of their lives, but who they are as people.

“Once you play the piano, it’s something that you can never stop,” Nabiel noted.

“It’s just such an escape, you don’t think about anything else. I feel like the music is in your soul. I’m never going to stop playing,” Gracie added.

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