SUMMER SCHOOL ZONE: Rising sixth-grader earns top award at music competition

Windermere Prep’s Luca Chen recently earned an award for his solo at the Florida Federation of Music Clubs State Junior Convention.

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  • | 4:25 p.m. July 6, 2022
Luca Chen took first place in a state piano competition.
Luca Chen took first place in a state piano competition.
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Beethoven, Chopin and Mozart. Each is a well-known and talented pianist.

But did you know there is a youth piano player achieving his greatest piano goals too, right here in West Orange? 

Luca Chen, a rising sixth-grader at Windermere Preparatory School, recently attended the Florida Federation of Music Clubs State Junior Convention and was awarded the win. Luca earned the “Primary 3 Piano Solo” award for his age group and is proud to see his hard work pay off. 

Luca’s love for the performing arts started when he was young and has grown into the passion and talent he has today. Not only did Luca begin playing the piano at just 4 years old, but also he continued to perform by being involved in musical theater productions and tap dancing as he grew older. In the past few years, Luca has enjoyed being a part of various school and community productions, such as “James and the Giant Peach,” “A Night of Cameron Mackintosh” and “Annie,” as well as multiple piano and dance recitals. 

When asked who or what his biggest inspirations are when performing, Luca shared that Ludwig van Beethoven has always been an inspiration to him as a performer, making it no surprise “Moonlight Sonata” by Beethoven is Luca’s favorite song to play. 

Taking his inspiration and deciding to make it more than just a dream, Luca began playing piano and learning alongside a local rock band, which fostered his love for being on stage and performing. As he grew older, Luca transitioned to taking piano lessons during school while living in New Jersey. 

Upon his move to Florida in July 2019, Luca began perfecting his piano skills during one-hour sessions with his piano teacher, Ann Thorsen. Years of piano-playing experience and knowledge gained from new teachers led Luca to participate in the first round of the Florida Federation of Music Clubs competition at the University of Central Florida in early 2022. This led to his performance and win at the FFMC finals in Tampa this spring.

Luca said his favorite part about playing the piano is being able to put hard work into something he loves and then getting to see his hard work pay off during his performances.

During his interview, Luca shared a story about this particular performance, describing how he had a cold during the time of his performance and did not feel fully confident in how he executed his song. Luca shared how he felt at war with his self-courage while performing at this competition — but continued to stay hopeful and enthusiastic about his craft. Despite his initial doubt, Luca was overcome with joy and gratefulness upon the announcement of his win, and he took home an even bigger prize than any trophy could represent: the lesson of trying your best and enjoying every step of the way, no matter the status of the outcome. 

Luca plans to take the lessons he has learned during this competition and in his piano career thus far and continue his performing journey as he advances to middle and high school. 

Congratulations, Luca!


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