LAUREL HILL — Alon Goldstein visited the students of Laurel Hill School Tuesday to share his musical gift.
It was 8:15 a.m. in the cafeteria at Laurel Hill School.
Students followed teachers to their seats. All of the children in attendance were fourth grade and below.
Principal Lee Martello spoke to the children first, making sure they gave all of their attention to Goldstein as he performed.
"We want to be Hobos in control," Martello said.
The performance began with Goldstein naming the parts of the piano and explaining how the instrument works.
The students were quiet and attentive throughout Goldstein's explanation, minus a few "oohs" and "ahhs" from some of the children.
Goldstein made his performance an interactive experience for the children.
After each piece, he would tell a story or ask the kids what they thought the composer was trying to portray.
In between all three movements of Beethoven’s “Sonata,” commonly know as the “Moonlight Sonata," Goldstein asked the kids to figure out the story behind each movement.
Goldstein completed his performance with a “jazzy” piece by Leonard Bernstein.
He then asked the kids if they had questions, and over 20 hands went up.
“I want you to teach me,” one student said.
Goldstein said he would have to practice like him, five hours a day.
Although Goldstein couldn’t teach all of the kids, he allowed them to come by the piano one-by-one and take a quick look at how the instrument works.
In 2017, Goldstein, an Israeli-born pianist, formed an organization called the Emerald Coast Music Alliance.
"I always had this vision ever since I became a citizen of this country ... what can I do to make a change other than playing in Carnegie Hall, which I did and it's great," Goldstein said.
Although Goldstein has played in quite a few popular concert venues, he said his passion extended further than extraordinary venues like Carnegie Hall.
That passion led him to create an organization that centers on bringing music to under-served places in communities---places like schools, nursing homes, mental facilities, and many other locations where classical music is not often performed.
Goldstein said in order to perform the concerts for free, the organization relies on donations from citizens. He also has fellow musicians that will perform concerts to raise money for the organization.
"There's wonderful people in the community who see the value of this, and they support it," Goldstein said.
Laurel Hill music teacher Thesa Smith was excited when she found out, one week before the concert, that Goldstein would be coming to the school to perform for students.
“I am so impressed that the kids here have heard a concert from a wonderful pianist. We are very fortunate,” Smith said.