Posts Tagged ‘piano’

Gavin Battig (Submitted photo)

No matter where he lives, the music remains the same — top-drawer all the way.

Gavin Battig calls Florida home these days, but the 17-year-old composer and musician spent two years at Oak Harbor High School while his father was finishing his career at NAS Whidbey.

While on The Rock, he made friends such as Coupeville basketball star Ja’Kenya Hoskins, who sent me down the musical path which led to Battig.

Inspired as a young child by the Baby Einstein DVD series, he quickly found a love for classical music, which he soon made his own.

“I was always given instruments to play, such as a toy piano or drum sets and things like that,” Battig said.

After beginning piano lessons at age seven, he quickly developed a great joy for music, with his skills growing at an often astonishing rate.

“I have been classically trained by the same teacher, and have always loved and grew up with classical music,” Battig said.

“I was always told by my teacher that I have been exponentially better at playing than years past,” he added. “And have grown exponentially at my playing skills to the point where I have been playing classical pieces that he performed for his college-level recitals.”

Now a senior at Fleming Island High School, located a short drive from Jacksonville, Battig has added a variety of musical instruments to his skill-set.

He currently plays the drums, marimba, vibraphone, trombone, tenor saxophone, trumpet, baritone, and both the bass and acoustic guitar.

But the ivories still call his name.

“I have always been drawn to the piano the most,” Battig said. “It is such a beautiful and graceful instrument with such potential in playing some of the most beautiful sounds known to man.”

Along with playing, he has developed deep skills as a composer, crafting 100+ pieces after writing his first work, Ember Tree, in 2015.

Battig, who’s working on an orchestral symphony, has crafted compositions for concert bands and string quartets, as well as solo pieces for trombone and piano.

He shares his work with other students, as well, using Google Classroom.

“I have always wanted to teach composition, which is why I started to open up to this idea of actually fulfilling this dream,” Battig said.

It’s a path he’d like to continue down as he moves forward in his own journey.

“This composition thing and playing music isn’t a side gig for me going forward,” Battig said. “It has largely been a huge focus of mine almost all of my life, and I plan to continue that throughout my future and college.”

He plans to study music composition, with hopes of earning a doctorate degree.

“I want to teach at the collegiate level, and also compose at the same time and direct bands and orchestras if I can, hopefully around the world,” Battig said. “I would love to be known globally for my music, but that all starts here in this country I believe.”

While Baby Einstein launched his love of music, now some of the biggest composers in music history help guide his career.

“My biggest inspirations are mainly classical composers,” Battig said, citing Frédéric Chopin and Claude Debussy.

“Many of my pieces today have a similar style to his (Chopin), and he invokes so many feelings that I just am so inspired by when listening to and playing his pieces,” Battig said.

“Impressionist music in the classical world (like Debussey’s) is something I try to recreate, which is evoking emotions and a story through my music.”

Battig also gives a large amount of the credit to his longtime music teacher.

“He has been so helpful in my journey as a pianist, and has always been an amazing teacher and pianist, and it is so inspiring to me to keep getting better.”

The ability to create deep emotion through music, whether accomplished by legendary composers or through his own work, is what drives Battig’s appreciation of the art.

“Music is so inspiring,” he said. “It evokes emotion, it tells a story, it does so much within a certain amount of time. It’s an entire language in of itself, it tells a story without words a lot of the time.

“Music is powerful; it moves man to sadness and excitement and hope and sorrow,” Battig said. “It can change your mood and attitude within seconds.

“That power inspires me to do the same with my own music. It inspires me to play with so much emotion and to tell a story when I play music that is not my own as well.”


Battig makin’ magic on the piano:


For more Battig music, pop over to the link to choose from multiple outlets:

@gavinbattigmusic | Linktree

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Sarah Lyngra

Stay connected through piano.

Coupeville Middle School volleyball coach Sarah Lyngra is also a piano teacher, and is sharing lessons from a book she wrote for young children.

She’s making video lessons for each chapter of the book, and is sharing them for free on the internet.

Lyngra is putting up a new story each day, as she works through the 10 lessons offered in her book.

To take a look at what she’s doing, pop over to https://vimeo.com/user18798340.

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Aiden Burdge heads back up court after nailing a three-point bomb in a middle school hoops game. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

When Aiden Burdge wants to see his greatest opponent, he looks in the mirror.

The Coupeville High School freshman, who follows a path carved by talented older sisters Kylie and Kiara, has a clear focus when he settles in to run a race or shoot a basketball.

Get better, every time out, and push himself to get the most he can out of his abilities.

“My strength as an athlete is my determination to push at a challenge until I overcome it,” Burdge said. “I need to work on discipline and training, because the older I get, the harder I have to push myself to get better.”

While he was a quick, three-ball-shootin’ wonder on the basketball court in middle school, it’s track and field which captivates Burdge.

“My favorite sport is track because it’s a great feeling to fly through the air and I know I can only improve,” he said. “I enjoy the challenge that’s in front of me and I want to get better.”

Track, above most other sports, is all about self-improvement — getting a PR, shaving a few seconds off your best time or picking up a few more inches on a throw.

That chance to compete against himself, and see his progress reflected back, is a big part of why Burdge enjoys the sport so much.

“My goal in my high school sports career is the same as my middle school sports career goal – to beat my own records,” he said.

Burdge is part of a large, tightly-knit family, and he appreciates the support he gets from his three sisters and parents Aaron and Trina.

Whether he’s playing a sport, knocking out tunes on the piano, or spending time with his family, the young Wolf star knows he has their full support and love.

“My parents and my siblings all pushed me to be better and to put forth my best effort,” Burdge said. “And for that I’m grateful.”

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Julia Borges

Julia Borges (Photo courtesy Borges)

Coupeville cheer will have a Brazilian accent this year.

This addition of foreign exchange student Julia Borges adds a big city touch to small town athletics.

The newest Wolf hails from São Paulo, the most populous city in the Western hemisphere and the 13th biggest in the entire world.

Estimates of the population run from 11-19 million (depending on whether you count the metropolitan area surrounding the city).

And now Borges will call Coupeville, with a population of less than 1,900, home for the next school year.

The quiet, and the weather, have been the biggest transitions so far.

“I was afraid to live in a town so different from Sao Paulo, but I am adjusting so well here!,” Borges said. “My host family is so nice and everyone I have already met is nice and helpful too!

“That is the biggest surprise I had and my biggest challenge here is the cold weather, which I am not used to.”

Borges has many supporters back home (“I have a big family with a lot of cousins and relatives”) and their faith in her made it easier to travel around the globe.

“I always wanted to be an exchange student and my family always supported that idea!,” Borges said. “I intend to improve my English, to be more independent, to meet new people and to have a different experience!”

Like most foreign exchange students, she had no idea where she would end up, but she’s quickly adjusting to the culture shock.

“Coupeville was a surprise destination and now I am sure it is the perfect town for my exchange!,” Borges said. “Everybody here is so friendly and nice!”

While she’s never been a cheerleader before, Borges, who hopes to also play tennis for CHS in the spring, has been a dancer for most of her life, which should help.

“It is not common to have cheer-leading team in Brazil, so that is a different experience that all the Brazilian girls would like to have,” she said. “I love dancing and I have been practicing it in Brazil since I was a child, so being a cheerleader is similar.”

Borges also plays the piano and enjoys movies and music. After her year in America, she plans to return to her home country and study architecture.

And, while her Coupeville odyssey is just beginning, she already has plans for return visits.

“I intend to come back here later and visit everyone from Coupeville that I will miss so much!”

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Sean Donley? He's like a freakin' Greek god, he is. (John Fisken photos)

Sean Donley, operating at legendary status. (John Fisken photos)

We come to remember a legend.

The scrappiest of scrappy booters, the king of hairpin moves on the pitch, a man who could steal a pass, juke a defender out of his shoes, lay in a sizzling line drive for a goal, then go play “We are the Champions” on a baby grand piano on the sidelines while his teammates celebrate.

Sean Donley may no longer be patrolling the grass field at Coupeville High School for the Wolf boys’ soccer team, or be slaving away in the dish pits at Christopher’s on Whidbey, but he left his mark before leaving both locales.

He was the smartest, the quickest and the most talented, yet retained his boyish enthusiasm and laid-back charm.

He was Mr. Donley, living (large) legend, and nothing has changed.

As he celebrates a birthday today, we just want to send him best wishes.

You haven’t been forgotten, Mr. Donley. Your shadow still looms strong over the land.

May it be ever so.

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