Most astonishingly gratifying school concert I’ve ever done ~ Discovery Middle School, South Bend/Granger, IN

My first event in South Bend, early in the morning the day before my recital at UI/South Bend, I played a school concert at the Discovery Middle School. I’ve played a lot of school concerts in my day, but this one was unprecedented: ALL the kids who came are daily participants in Discovery’s Piano Lab classes (every day!), more than 100 and every one of them pianists. That was not the first surprise of the morning, but certainly the most unprecedented. On the drive to them, IUSB/Music Outreach Director, Cory Iwaszewski presented me with a couple of pages of questions they’d prepared in advance for me to address. I had some idea of what I wanted to play for them, some Radiohead, a movement from Symphonie Fantastique; and I knew I’d share some of my stories growing up as a pianist, but here they were setting the terms of the morning’s presentation and dialogue, totally engaged in advance. I’ve never had such preparation by a school for my coming to play for them. The teacher who is responsible for this mecca of pianistic enthusiasm is Tammy Bilotta. She further informed me, when we met after the class, that she’d, unheralded, asked the kids to research ‘Christopher O’Riley’, and only after they’d delved into this name online, she’d let them know I was going to be playing for them.

Upon arrival, I set myself up at their Yamaha Clavinova, and there were already 20 or so kids who’d taken their places on the tiered carpeted platforms, and so I, rather out of normal practice but inspired by their enthusiasm, started to get to know them a bit; asked them if they wanted to see a picture of my wife:

They loved that.

When they’d all arrived, I played Airbag and Subterranean Homesick Alien and then I greeted them with my awe (and frankly, intimidation!) at playing for an exclusive audience of budding pianists, let them know that it was truly a first for me, as well as their thoughtful questions prepared in advance, which then drove the dialogue from then on.

 

Aside from my origin story, we got pretty deep, especially when addressing the question: What’s your favorite piece to play? To which: Whatever piece I’m playing right now. I chose not to stop there, though, as I was reminded of the times when I was tasked with performing a piece I really didn’t like, and what my responsibility, our responsibility would be in such a circumstance. Told them the story of Messiaen’s Quartet For The End of Time, of its being composed and performed in a prison camp on inadequate instruments, and what a breathakingly beautiful and transformative work it was. The reason I brought it up was because of a quartet of musicians who’d performed it rapturously at the Seattle Chamber Music Festival years ago; how they’d had such an amazing time together they wanted to find another similarly orchestrated piece to perform together. It so happened Paul Hindemith had in fact written for that combination, and so it was programmed for the following summer. Unfortunately, it turned out none of them were available for the following summer, so the Hindemith was assigned to the next year’s roster, myself among them. I don’t want to say that it was a terrible piece and we all hated it, but, ya, it was and we did. As professionals, though, we were tasked with this work, and I remember Ron Thomas, who played cello in the group, calmly noted that what we needed to do was to pay specially careful attention to every aspect of the score, to try and divine the intent behind the content, and make the best performance possible of it. We did, and the audience were all convinced of our ardent advocacy of the work. Short version for the kids: especially if you’re playing a piece you’re not that into, you have to appreciate the composer’s need and desire to create this work, and find the beauty in the notation and content. Or words to that effect.

 

I go on about this all because so much of what we discussed, where we went with the morning, made a deep impression, as you’ll see in the enclosed 100+ Thank You notes I received before my recital Friday night.

 

Of course, the biggest impression of the day was my recounting the autobiographical nature of The First Stalker Symphonie written by the hallucinating Hector Berlioz. I played the March to the Gallows, prefacing it with Harriet’s Theme, and how this manic march stops short for a brief reminiscence of Harriet, followed by the tumbling g minor chords denoting our hero’s head being cut off and falling in to a basket. They adored that. I reveled in the singular theatricality of Berlioz’s music, the dramatically infused musical gestures. Didn’t address it at the time, but one of the best parts of playing the Symphonie on the piano is taking full advantage of the potential for non-synchronous, more expressive and elastic notions of tempo and rubato not possible with a frantic orchestra of 90+ pieces. Another of my favorite moments is especially enhanced by the more rhetorical, personal flux of flow; the moment in the 3rd movement when Berlioz, fully cognizant after his idyll meditation that She’s Just Not That Into You, hallucinates in his self-cultivated bitter rejection strangling her.

“Would you like to hear that?”

“YEEAAAHHH!!!!”

I am so grateful to Tammy and every one of these extraordinary young people for their openness, enthusiasm and love of music. This day was for me a watershed moment I’ll never forget. Thank you, all.

 

 

Dear Mr. O’Riley,

Thank you for the performance that you blessed our school with today is was truly special to have such a talented performer play for us. I specifically like the final act when he his marching to and dying at the gallows. It is easily the most impressive and best sounding song I have ever heard. I hope you have a great time in South Bend.

Thank you,
Henry

Dear Mr. O ́Riley, Thank you so much for coming to Discovery middle school it was an honor to hear you play. my favorite music you played was the one when he was strangling his girl friend. I liked that there was a story behind that song. I am a sixth grader and this is my first time playing the piano and I have had a couple of struggles but then I nail the song and am proud and cant wait to do the next song again thank you so much it was so inspiring

Dear Mr.O’Riley,

Thank you so much for coming to perform to us today. I am in 6th grade and this is the first time I have ever played piano so It was very inspiring to hear a Famous pianist play. I enjoyed hearing all the amazing songs that you played. I loved to watch you play it was very fast and jaw dropping. I hope you enjoyed coming to Indiana as much as I enjoyed having you come. I had so much fun today especially when you told us that story about that pianist that was obsessed with that girl that was very enjoyable.

Thank you again,
Megan

Dear Mr. O’Riley,
I absolutely loved your performance! I hope that you enjoyed playing for us! Since I am just know beginning piano it was super cool to see you play and to think that I could be as good as you one day! I loved how you told us the story to go with the song, it really helped me understand how each note you played meant something! Thank you for coming!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you,
Emily
Dear Mr. O’Riley,

Thank you for coming to my school to do a mini concert. Thank you for inspiring me to work at my piano skills and one day I hope to be as good as you, but to me that seems like a long ways away and maybe never obtainable. But thank you for sharing your personal stuff like your first lesson, your band, and how you practice now. Please never stop playing. During you playing i felt really happy and emotional. I am just starting but you have given me confidence that I could be half as good as you.
From,
A good student aspiring to be a good pianist,
Sophia.

Dear,Mr Oŕiley

You are the best painosit in the world I would like to listen to you again also hope you best luck on your performances. Your music changed my life. Also that was the best show ever seen.You’re an inspiration. Your music warmed my heart. I wanted to take the time to thank you.
From a 6th grader who loved your performance Tirth

Dear, Mr O’Riley

Thank you for coming to Discovery Middle school. It was a hannore to see you and I was fascinated by how well you played on the piano. I was thrilled or fascinated on the songs you played it was interesting in a way you can see the keys play into reality. I am grateful you came to discovery middle school. You are the best pianist I ever seen.
Ian 6th grade

Dear Mr. O’Riley,
Thank you so much for coming and performing for us at Discovery Middle School I loved all of the songs and the Q and A you are very talented man.

From, Phoebe
First year in piano and 6th grader

 

Dear Mr. O’Riley,

Thank you so so so so so much for coming to our school, out of all the schools you picked us! That makes us feel special and thinking about what would happen if we lived in another city. Because if we did then we probably wouldn’t have met you. Also, I liked the scary part when you played the piano where you can hear a composer strangling his girlfriend and cutting his head off because it makes us imagine stuff by listening to a piano. Thank you soooooo much!

Omar, 6th Grade
Dear Mr. O’ Riley ,

Thank you for coming! You played so well and fast! I was really inspired by you. It was really cool to tell us a little about yourself. And it’s so amazing that you picked our school when you could’ve picked any other school you picked ours. So thank you very much!

Lily a sixth grader

Dear Mr.O’Riley,
Thank you so much for coming to perform to Discovery Middle School piano lab. It was so enjoyable to watch you play the piano so fabulously. I absolutely loved to watch how your hands played the piano, you made it look so easy. It was so inspiring to watch you play the piano and hear some of your crazy stories. You really have inspired me and many, many others. Once again thank you so much for coming to Discovery Middle School.
Sincerely,
Maddi 6th Grader.

Dear Mr. O’ Riley 9/19/19

Thank you for coming to our school. I loved all the songs that you played for us today!

From Lucas
6th Grade Student

Dear Mr. O’riley,
Thank you so much for coming we all really appreciate you coming today! Everyone loved it. It was so awesome to see how fast your hand can move from key to key. That was very inspiring to me because I just started piano this year and that was awesome to see for a new pianist.

From, Hailey
6th grader

Thank You for coming and playing the best pop from the 1900`s
(can you please play kpop and put it on youtube thanks,if you do)please name it “christopher o’riley kpop performance”.(bts dna)<— a K-pop song.

To:mister,o`riley
From,adam

Dear Mr.O’Riley,

Wow! Thank you sooo much for coming to Discovery Middle School. You are such an amazing piano player and I have so much respect for you. That was by far the best piano concert I have ever seen! I loved those songs you played, they were super exciting! You played so fast and fluently I really don’t think you left a fingerprint.
Sincerely
Discovery Student, Joey.

THANK YOU MR. O’Riley

I loved how you played the piano. The music you played was so cool!

-Cameron B.

Dear Mr.O’Reilly,

I’m a 6th grader at discovery middle school and I want to say thank you for coming today. I love your music and you are a really Nice guy. You Inspired me and I will always watch your music.

Dear Mr.O’Riley,

Thank you so much for coming to Discovery Middle School to have your mini-concert and show all of how amazing you play the piano. This is my first ever concert to have at a school I’ve ever had before and I just gotta say I’m thankful that you playing at my first at school concert.
Sincerely,
Gavin

Dear Mr.O’Riley,

Thank you so much for coming to Discovery to perform for us.
I’m a 6th grader and I’m enjoying piano a lot so far. I’ve never heard that kind of music played on a piano in person so that was very cool. Again, thank you!

Dear Mr, O’ Riley,

Thank you for coming to my school. My favorite part was when you played fast. I thought it was awesome.

From: Audrey

Dear Mr. O’Riley

Thank you for coming to our school. You were amazing. I was super impressed with how fast you were moving. I really like the song with the backstory and I like how you told us before you played. We could really picture it. I loved your music.

Sincerely,
Alyssa, 7th grade student at discovery middle school
Dear mr. O’Riley,

Thank you so much for coming to visit us and play for us. I think it was amazing that you move your habds so fast it’s just amazing. Also I personaly loved all the storys about you and your jurney. But what really amazed me was when you told a story when you played. My favorit song was the one where he strangled her. One more thing is when you said that you new from when you were in kindergarten and you already knew that you were going to be a pianoist. THank you again and keep up the good work Because i loved it.

Abbi 7th Grade

Dear Mr. O’Riley,
Thank you for coming to Discover Middle School. It is cool how fast you played and just to see that and the fun stories you told. If you did not tell the story about the guy who strangled the girl it would have been kinda boring but you made it fun for us. Thank You So Much. From 7th grade student
-Landen

Dear Mr. O´Riley,

You are really good at playing the piano it is insane how fast you can play and how well you can play too when you were playing the song about the crazy guy it was like everything was just coming together in perfect harmony and you were hitting the damper pedal and than pedal to change the page on the ipad you are serouly skilled thank you for coming and playing for us
Sincerly, William 7th Grade

Dear Mr. O’Riley,
Thank you so much for coming to Discovery Middle School just for us. You are such a wonderful piano player. I loved the stories that you told all of us. It was really cool to hear the songs that you played and to meet a famous pianist. Thanks for coming to our school.
From,
Samantha 7th grader
Dear, Mr. O’Riley

Thank you for coming to our school.
I hope you come back for one of our events. I was going to ask a question and my question was Why did you want to be a piano player.

From,
Niya 8th grade
Dear Mr O’Riley,
Thanks for coming all the way out to Indiana to not only play for IUSB but for Discovery as well. I’m really thankful that you chose our school out of the many to play for us, and I think it’s really crazy that we got were able to get a personal performance from a well known professional pianist.
Thank you,
Brandon
Dear Mr. O’Riley,
Thanks for coming to our school and playing for us! I have never been to a piano concert before and I loved the pieces you played. You played with a lot of emotion and I was really impressed. Anyway, thanks so much for coming and showing off your skills, and hopefully one day I could be as good as you.
-Elena (8th grader piano student)
Dear Mr. O’Riley, I enjoyed the performance because it was very neat to witness the amount of emotion you played with,it was truly awesome!
-kamara

Dear Mr. O’Riley,
Thank you for coming to show us your amazing pieces of music, (liked the stories) I hope I can follow in your footsteps to be a really good piano player when I grow up too.
Brayden

Dear Mr. O’Reilley,
Thank you so much for coming to our school to perform your music. It was truly a wonderful experience.
Nolan

Dear Mr. O’Riley

Thank you for coming and playing the songs and for the q&a. You are very cool and neat and good at the piano. I hope you have fun at your concert!
Luke
Dear Mr.O’Riley,

Thank you for coming and putting on a great performance for all of the piano lab students. I loved when you talked about the composer fantasizing about that girl and him strangling her. Also I thought your I-Pad that you had your music on was really cool.

From, Jack

Hello Mr. O’Riley! Thank you for coming to Discovery! I enjoyed your performances so much! You’re last song was one of my favorites. -Natalie, 8th grade student.

Dear MR.O’Riley,
Thank you so much for coming, I had so much fun watching you play the piano and answering our questions. I really loved the song you played that had the story about the guy falling in love with the girl, it sounded really amazing. I hope to see you play again soon!
-Kiera, 8th grade
Dear Mr. O’Riley,
Thanks for choosing out of all the states Indiana. As well as choosing Discovery. It was an honor to see you perform your best and getting to communicate your daily life as a famous musician. Have a great performance tonight, best of luck.
~Ellie Cano~

Dear Mr. O’Riley,
Thank you for coming to our school and playing for us we were all very happy to have you here. Thanks for also showing me that challenging yourself is a good thing.-Rudra 8th

Dear Mr. O’Riley,
Thank you for coming to our school, and choosing our school over any other one. Also thank you for putting it the time to play for us. My favorite part of the concert was the part where you told us the story.THANK YOU FOR COMING TO DISCOVERY MIDDLE SCHOOL.
Sincerely,
Muhammad
Dear, Mr. O’Riley, Thank-you for coming to our school and playing some of your music pieces,
My favorite part was the song with the story about the man and the woman. -From, Kolin

Dear Mr. O’Riley.
Thank you for coming to Discovery today. I very much enjoyed it, and I know that my peers did as well. I am so thankful for this opportunity,
From Adri, an 8th grader.
Dear Mr. O’Riley,

Thank you for coming to visit our school. We feel really appreciated that you choose our school to come too. I really liked the last song you performed about the girl getting strangled. What I learned was that even though you might not like something you should still try hard. I am going to use this as motivation to when I fail I will keep trying. Thank you again.
• From, Quinn, an 8th grader.

Dear Mr. O’Riley, Thank you so much for coming to Discovery, I really enjoyed watching a professional pianist in person and hearing music that is so difficult to play.
-John, 8th grade
Dear Mr. O ̈Riley
I want to thank you so much because a lot of the school could of took that away from us and I really thinks is cool that you chose Discovery Middle School . The things you did for us is a once in a lifetime thing so I want to thank you very much
Sincerely, Hunter

Dear Mr. O’Riley,
Thank you so much for coming to perform at Discovery for us. I was the one kid who knew of Radiohead, and I thought you played their music really well. You really put your emotions into your music, and made it really dramatic and suspenseful. I thought you did a really good job on what you call “texture,” because you really make some parts of the music stand out than the others, and that really adds a lot to the song. Your hands are like lightning because they move so fast, and you never miss your notes. You did a really good job and I appreciate how you explained what your music was about. I think your cat is probably a great wife. I am so glad you came to play for us because I will remember your performance for a very long time.

Sincerely,
David
7th Grader
Discovery Middle School

Dear Mr. O’Riley
Thank you so much for coming. Us students enjoyed your show. I was really impressed with how your hands move so fast and play such a difficult song.
• Abby

Dear Mr. O´Riley, Thank you for coming and playing at my school. Me and my friends thought you played really good and did a wonderful job the last peice you played was my favorite and the most enjoyable for me. Also thanks for answering all the questions everyone had.
-Zane

Dear Mr. ORiley, 

Thank you for playing for us you are real awesome sauce. I really enjoyed when you played the part about strangling the girl, you could really envision it. Thank you!
 
 From Gabri W. (Eighth grader)

Dear Mr. O’Riley,
Thank you for choosing our school to come to it was an amazing performance to watch! – Ava (8th grade)

Dear mr. O’riley
I really enjoyed your amazing performance, and your teachings, thank you so much for coming.
-Nolan

Dear mr. O’RIley,

Thank you for performing at discovery for us. It was awesome.

Sincerely,
Hudson

Dear Mr. O’Riley,

Thank you for taking the time to come and play for us. It was an amazing experience and I enjoyed hearing all of the pieces you played. The difficulty level on the songs was very impressive and hearing about your journey was very interesting.

Sincerely, Sloan

Dear Mr. O’Riely
Thank for choosing Discovery to come and perform piano for us. You are very talented and good luck in the future.

Dear Mr. O’Riley, Thank you for giving my class a chance to watch you play. I had a amazing time listening and watching how you played.-Brianna

Dear Mr. O’Riley,
Thank you for coming to perform at Discovery Middle School. I was very impressed by your emotion and you have inspired me to maybe play the piano when I’m older.
Thanks,
Josh

Dear Mr. O’Riley,
Thank you so much for coming to our school and playing beautiful music for us. You inspired me with how you didn’t like some songs that you had to learn but you persevered through it. That was a good life lesson that you just taught me so I am very grateful.
Sincerely,
Gretchen
8th grade student.

Dear Mr. O’Riley,
Thank you for coming to our school to play it was really awesome to meet a real live professional piano player. In my family only my mom play piano but she really doesn’t know that much so I’m kind of on my own so that’s why it was really cool to meet you and learn so much about you.
-Diksha S 7th
Dear Mr. O’Riley, thank you for coming to discovery today. I really enjoyed the music with the story and your enthuseasum when you played the piano. You are truly amazing at playing piano.
Sincerely – Sophia

Dear Mr. O’Riley,

Thank you so much for coming to our school and performing for us. It was a great honor to be able to see someone of your skill perform, and I was very excited leading up to it, and during the performance. I hope that your performance at IUSB went well, I know it did here. Tell you wife I said hi.
Sincerely,
Landon

Thank you so much for coming all the way to Discovery Middle School and performing for us. It was so cool how fast you played the piano and did not mess up once. You also played so beautifully and I could really hear the different dynamics. You really inspired me to keep playing the piano and pushing myself.

Sincerely,
Amrit

Dear Mr.O’Riley, I genuinely appreciate you coming to my school.I especially liked the last song you played, “let down” I think.The others were amazing as well I just liked that one especially.Anyways it was a pleasure having you at the school.
Sincerely, Cosimo

Dear Mr. O’Reilly,

THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH FOR COMING!!!! You are such an inspiration. I wish to be a great pianist like you when I grow up. I really saw the emotions you showed while playing. It was really cool to see how fast you played . You are truly made an impact in my life.

With kind regards,

Areej
Dear Mr. O’ Riley,
I really appreciate you taking time out of your day to come play for us. Especially the fact that you could have gone to any other school. I really enjoyed hearing you play the very complex and fast paced music. Finally I really liked when you were telling us things about your life and answering our questions very in depth rather than just giving us answers.

Dear Mr. O’Riley,
Thank you so much for coming and visiting our school. We really appreciate your time spent playing and answering questions. You taught me a lot, and you inspired me to want to play more piano.
-Sincerely
Fallon 7th grade student
Dear Mr. O ́riley,
I wanted to thank you so much for coming to our school i loved the music you played and the stories that were behind them and also loved the emotion you put into your music again thank you so much it really meant a lot to me and the other students.
Seniorly Danielle 7th grader

Dear Mr. O’Riley,
Thank you so much for coming to perform at our school. It was very cool to see a performance from you. I hope you could do it again sometime.

Thanks,
Casey

Dear Mr. O’Riley,

Thank you for taking time out of your day to come to our school. I understand that there are a lot of other schools you could have chosen but I felt super honored that you chose our school to come to.

Sincerely, Krisha (8th grade student)

Dear Mr. O’RIley
Thank You for coming to play piano at our school. It was an amazing experience, you piano skills were fantastic, and it crazy how fast you can play notes. Hope you have an amazing time in Granger and South Bend

From,
Ike

Dear Mr. O’Riley,
Thank you for coming to our school. We enjoyed all the music you played for us. We also thank you for answering questions. You were very inspirational for all of us. We will definitely look up to you when we play the piano now!
Thanks again,
Sophia
Dear Mr. O’riley

I loved the concert today and my favorite part was the part were the head got cut off and thank you for coming to our school.

From Jarrett 7th grade student

Dear Mr. O’Riley, Thank you so much for coming all this way just for a mini-concert. It was very cool to see a piano player who’s really good. Good luck with everything and keep grinding.

Dear Mr. O’Riley, thank you so much for coming in and proforming your songs. Also, I inkoyed hearing your story telling.
Senncerly,
Colten

Dear Mr. O’Riley, Thank you for coming and performing for us. I really enjoyed the song about the guy getting his head chopped off. I thought you played it in a great way where I could tell exactly what was going on while you were playing.
Sincerely, Dean
Dear Mr. O’Riley,
I really enjoyed the songs you played for us. My favorite one was the last song. I really liked your cat and the one where the person got strangled.

Dear Mr. O’Riley, Thank you very much for coming to preform for us! You really inspired me to keep doing piano and push myself to be better just like you! Thanks again!
-Carlee 8th grade
Dear Mr. O’Riley,
Thank you for coming and performing at our school. It was a very good performance and I liked the songs that you played! I hope you and your wife have a good day!

Sincerely, Mia 🙂
Dear Mr. O’Riley,
Thankyou for playing for us and answering our questions. It was a great performance. I love the last song you player.
Sincerely Annalie

Dear Mr.O’Riley
Thank you for coming to our school and showing us your amazing talents. I loved the songs you played and they inspired me

Dear Mr. O,Riley
It was very cool that I got to see a very high pro pianist. Its crazy were you can get from practicing for more than 40 years. This was very cool and I will never forget it. Thanks for taking your time to come play for us and teach piano culture.
Sincerely Cooper

Dear Mr.O’Riley,

Thank you for coming to our school and playing for us. I really liked the way you were enthusiastic when played. It made the song sound and feel so much better.

Dear Mr. O’Riley,
Thank you for coming to our school. I really enjoyed the music you played. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to watch you play. It was interesting to hear the stories and your answers to our questions.

From Lucy (7th grade)

Dear Mr.O’Riley,

Thank you for coming to our school. It wasn’t necessary, but you still came. The emotion that you played with sent shivers down my back!! It was an experience I will never forget. And again thank you for coming.

From and 8th grade Student
Mustafa

Dear Mr. O’Riley,
Thank you for coming to Discovery Middle School to perform. I was extremely amazed by how fast you played, and how you portrayed your music with emotion. I am glad that you explanned the synnophony where the man strangled Harrit.
From,
Devyn
A 7th grader at Discovery Middle School.

Dear Mr. O ́Riley

Thank you for coming and playing for us, and I was amazed by the stories you told, the songs you played, and your skill on the piano.

From, Carter
A 7th Grade student,
from Discovery Middle school

Dear Mr. O’Riley,

Thank you very much for coming to Discovery to play for us. I enjoyed it very much! You are an AMAZING piano player! I am very glad that you
came to perform. You are the first ever famous person that I met. So this was very fun for me to watch. Hopefully I will see you again soon!! Thank you sooooo much for coming!!!

Sincerely
Zoe (A Discovery 7th grader)
Dear Mr. O’Reilly,
Thank you for taking the time to come to our school and perform for free. Out of all of the schools that you could come to you picked our and that was really cool. I loved watching you play those songs you came up with. You did a great job speaking to everybody and I loved your stories that you told us. It was very cool watching you play really fast with your hands.

Sincerely, Lincoln 7th grade

Dear Mr. O’Riley,

Thank you so much for coming to Discovery and performing for us. You are amazing at playing the piano and I have learned a lot from you. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to spend time with us. I loved all the songs but my favorite was the last song, it was very calm and relaxing. Good luck at your concert, I know that you will do great. I hope that you enjoyed coming to Discovery and Indiana, it has been wonderful meeting you and I hope that I will meet you again someday.

From 7th grade student at Discovery Middle School,
Fareha

Dear Mr. O’Riley, Thank you for your time and coming to talk/play for us we really enjoyed it. To me one thing that stood out was that when your where playing you where very confident. Thank you for everything and say hi to you cat/wife bye.- Denzel seventh grader.

Thank you Mr O. Riley. I really appreciate you coming to our school. I was just amazed how you played and how confident you were i would be so scared. When I first found out you were coming to our school, I was honestly shocked and happy.

Dear Mr.O’riley,
Thank you so much for coming to discovery to perform for us. The first song you played for us was one of my favorite songs on the piano I’ve ever heard. I couldn’t believe how fast you could move your hands.I loved the performance!
From,
Brooks

Dear Mr. O’Riley

Thank you so much for coming to Discovery Middle School, and performing your amazing music. I really enjoyed the explanation about the background of the story. They were really fascinating and made me connect more to the song, then just thinking about the song with zero meaning. I thought it was really cool how fast you moved your hands.
Sincerely, Camille

Dear Mr.O’Riley

Thank you so much for coming to our school and playing for us you are a great pianist I loved the songs you played. My favorite part was when you told us the story and then you played the song. Thank you so much for coming.

From Simon 7th Grade

Dear Mr. O’Riley,

Thank you for coming to our school and performing for us. It was so much fun to listen and watch you play. Also it was fun to hear about your background story and how you developed as a pianist. Thanks again.

From, River

Dear Mr. O’Riley,
Thank you so much for coming to play for us today. I enjoyed watching how you played each note with passion and detail. You reminded me today that even if you don’t like something, you have to get the job done.
Sincerely, 7th Grader

Dear Mr. O’Riley,
I was really amazed by how fast you could play the piano and move your hands! I also enjoyed listening to you stories! Thank you so much for coming to play for us!
Sincerely,
Gabby

Dear Mr O’Riley
Thank you for coming to discovery and showing us you amazing musical talent. You are soooooo great at piano. I love all the songs you played and how you switched your hands. I also loved the speed you moved your hands. Thank you for performing for us it was great.

Sincerely,
Reece
Dear Mr. O’Riley,
Thank you for coming and playing for us! I really enjoyed the songs and especially the back stories. I also was amazed how fast your hands could move as you were playing.

Sincerely, Efiyenia 7th grade Discovery student

Dear Mr. O ́Riley,

Thankyou for coming to our school and performing for us and telling us the back stories from the song, and answering our questions. I was really amazed from your ability to play. It’s crazy how fast you can move your hands and play. Thanks again for coming, playing, and inspiring us with the piano.

Dear Mr. O ́Riley,

Thank you for coming to our school and perform for use. I have never seen a piano performance like that live, I was really awesome.
From,
Tyler
Dear Mr. O’Riley,

I was amazed how you played the piano so swiftly! I hope you could come again next year and play some songs again for us.
I am really thankful that you could come to Discovery Middleschool and play a few songs for us! Thank you again.
-Uli 6th grade Discovery Middleschool.

Dear Mr. O’Riley

From Kaiden, 6th grade

Thank you for coming to Discovery Middle School! You are not good, but BRILLIANT! Better than the Piano guys, Anderson & Roe, and Wolfgang.

Here’s a present.

From Kaiden

Dear Mr. O’Riely,
I am so thankful and happy that you came to our school and played for us. I hope that you have a great concert and i hope you do amazing. I was very supprised that it was your first time playing to all piano players.
From
kayla

Dear Mr. O’ Riley,

Thank you for coming to our school and Playing for us it was very impressive that someone is even able to move their hands that fast but still be playing a song that well. I think that you coming and talking to us about the pieces you played were very interesting and I never thought I would see a famous piano player play a song like that before. I also had now idea how your music was changing until afterwords when they said that that thing by the pedals was what you used. It was amazing to have such a great piano player at ur school, thank you. THe march to the gallows was very intense so thank you.

Travis, 6th grade.

Dear Mr. O’Riley, Thank you for coming to our school and showing us a great performance. You did an amazing job and amazed me by how fast you moved your fingers. I also loved how you told us the story and led us through within music.

Sincerely,
Jake from 6th grade
Dear Mr.O ́Riley,
Thank you so much for coming to our school to give us a mini concert. You are such an amazing pianist. I would love to see you play again. My favorite part was the last song you played. It was so calming and beautiful. I noticed that your fingers on the piano looked like they weren even touching the piano, that looks hard to do but I know I can be a great pianist like you. Again, thank you so much for coming to our school to give us a mini concert.
Your fellow pianist,
Madelyn 6th grade
Dear Mr. O’Riley,
Thank you so much for performing for us it was so good. It sounded amazing I thought it was really cool how you looked like you were playing really light but it sounded loud. Your songs were great! It’s so cool that you made your own songs. Good luck at your concert tonight, you’ll do great. Tell your wife (the cat) that I said hi.
From Maddy, six gr
Dear Mr. O’Riley,
Thank you for coming to Discovery and telling us the story of when the man is taken to the gallows to be decapitated. I liked how the notes and chords you played matched the theme.
Mikan, 6th Grade Student at DMS

Dear Mr. O’Riley,
I really appreciate you coming to play for us!
It was a very kind and thoughtful thing to do!
You were amazing!
One of my favorite parts was how you would talk to us and explain what you were playing so we would understand and not be confused.
You even put in a bit of personal things so that we understood why you liked to play that song or about your cat or something like that.
Thank you so much!
From,
Emma sixth grader
Dear Mr. O’Riley,
Thank you for doing the mini concert at Discovery Middle school. It was very fun to watch you play, and it was very motivational to me. Your technique is flawless and I was amazed the whole time that you were playing. You looked like you were barely touching the keys but they were making a very loud sound. Once again, thank you, I hope you come again next year.
From Logan

Dear, Mr.O ́Riley,
Thank you so much for spending your time at our school performing wonderful songs for us. It was so cool how you showed us some of the songs you will be performing at your concert tonight at IUSB. I really appreciate how you did that for us.
Thanks,
Emmi
Dear Mr. O’Riley,
thank you so much for coming and playing for us. When you played it was like a waterfall of notes coming out of the piano. The music you played was so beautiful and good that words can’t describe it. I hope you come back and play for us next year. Good luck in your concert.

Sincerely from
Jacob
Dear mr. O’riley,
Thank you so much for coming to my school. It was so cool to get to see a pianist perform for us. I hope you know that you are a big inspiration to a lot of students here including myself. My favorite part was when you told us the background of each song.Thanks again for coming.

From,
Reese
Sixth grade student

Dear Mr. O’Riley, Thank you for coming to our school and performing all of those wonderful songs you were awesome. The of your songs backgrounds were really surprising. You were amazing!! I hope that you do awesome at your concert tonight!!!
– Isabella

Dear Mr. O’Riley,
I really enjoyed your mini concert that you performed on Thursday. I definitely enjoyed it! I still can’t believe how quickly you can move your fingers while playing a song. It’s so cool! Your posture and form for playing the notes is impeccable! I would love to watch you perform again some day. I wish you luck in your concert Friday night. 🙂
Sydney,
A six grade student at Discovery Middle School. 🙂

Dear Mr. O’Riley
Thank you for coming to our school to play the piano for us. My favorite part was when you told us the story about the music he made. I think it was really cool that when you played the piano you were playing with your finger tips.

From a 6th Grader at Discovery Middle School
Adil
Dear Mr. O’Riley,

Thank you so much for coming to our school and performing for us. My favorite part of your performance was your first song. I thought it was amazing.. You are so talented and to be working the piano at 5 years old is amazing because what I did at 5 was be on the couch all day and do nothing. Thank you again for performing for us.

Sincerely,
Elizabeth 6th Grader
Dear Mr. O’Riley

Thank you so much for coming to our school, i had a great time and so did everybody else. It was really cool how you could move your fingers that fast, have a good time at your concert and good luck.

By Owen

Dear Mr. O’Riley,
Thank you so much for coming! I really enjoyed every moment of your performance and I would gladly do this all over again. You’re a very talented in piano and I hope you do well in your upcoming recitals.
A Discovery Middleschooler, Scarlett
Dear Mr. O’Riley,

Thank you so much for coming and performing for our piano players! I enjoyed it very much and I loved when you played very fast. It is very impressive how you move your hands across the piano that fast without making any mistakes! Again, thank you very much for coming and performing for us, it was a very nice opportunity. Good luck at your concert tonight!

Sincerely,
Annie 6th Grade

Dear Mr. O’Riley, Your performance was outstanding! What was interesting to me was the guy you talked about cut off his head after playing his song. When you played, your hands moved faster than Jimmy John’s. When you play at your concert tonight, I hope you blow music out of the world.

From, Kaden 6th Grade

Dear Mr.O’Riley

I thank you very much for your visit good luck tonight. I hope you do great. No. I know you’ll do great!!! Good luck!!!!!

Sincerely,
Isaiah.

Dear Mr. O’Riley,
Thank you so much for coming to our school and playing for us. I loved the first song you played and I hope you do well at your concert in IUSB.
Thanks again from Luke
6th grade
Dear Mr. O ́Riley,

Thank you for coming to discovery middle school, I really enjoyed you coming and I loved your songs I hope you do a great job tonight and remember to have fun.

Sincerely
Quinton

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