Erick Lemus/Courier Jesse Reyes sits by a piano in the lab area for music sudents in the Pasadena City College Center for the Arts on Tuesday, April 4. Jesse Reyes is a winner of a Performing Arts Competiotion that was held by the Fine Arts Club of Pasadena.
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As his hands move swiftly and confidently across the familiar 88 piano keys, PCC student Jesse Reyes is only looking for two things: to perform his best and let all that hard work pay off.

Reyes is a student at PCC whose career goals are not to only perform his music but also to teach. He has been attending PCC for only a year now. Reyes became interested in playing the piano at only six years old, but did not fully become interested until he was around the age of 17. It was only when he attended Azusa Pacific University (APU) that he started to take his piano playing seriously. His dedication has allowed him the opportunity to attend two international festivals at APU and also one in France.

“I spent two years at Azusa Pacific studying with Roza Yoder, and that’s when I really started to take things seriously,” Reyes said.

Many artists have people that inspire them or that they look up to. For some, it is someone in their craft they admire. For others, it is people they personally know that push them in some way or other. Reyes believes having an influence on one’s journey is always something to be proud of; it will always be the motivation for oneself to do their best for that specific reason.

“I think a huge influence has to be my family,”  Reyes said. “My grandfather was a talented painter and my dad is a painter and musician as well.”

Reyes shared the same interests with many of his family members, but none of them compared to the influence his father had on him. His father is his biggest influence and inspiration when it comes to the type of music he plays and appreciates.

“I think my dad was a huge influence on me growing up because of the fact that he played andean folk music,” Reyes said. “The way he viewed art and music in general was very different from the typical classical approach you get growing up and I think I developed a much more personal relationship with music from seeing how he was with his instruments.”

After leaving APU, Reyes took a few years off because of an injury the set him back. Reyes had tendonitis in both arms and had to complete several years of physical therapy before he could play again. He worked with a piano teacher who specialized in rehabilitating injured pianists. “The method she taught is called the taubman method,” Reyes said. “The tendonitis was a result of some issues with my piano technique.”

Reyes is now continuing his studies at Pasadena City College (PCC). He is currently taking the basic music sequence with classical and jazz ensembles.

Besides the classes he is currently taking, Reyes is also performing at PCC and won back to back competitions in 2017. Reyes won the PCC Concerto Competition on March 2. He then won the Fine Arts Club of Pasadena Competition on March 18. After winning his last competition, he was invited to play at the Fine Arts Banquet this past Monday at the Athenaeum on the Caltech campus.

“I [was] really excited about the opportunity,” Reyes said. “I love being able to play for an audience that is interested in what I’m doing.”

Reyes looks forward to and is preparing for his next performance, which will be with the PCC Orchestra on Saturday, April 29 at 8 p.m. in the Sexson Auditorium.

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