The May issue of The Diapason finally arrived, and I eagerly scanned through the pages to find the write-ups about the Class of 2016: 20 leaders under the age of 30. I found what I was looking for starting on page 26.
The Diapason’s second annual “20 under 30” selections came from a field that included over 130 nominations, a response that exceeded the previous year’s. The nominees were evaluated based upon information provided in the nominations; we selected only from those who had been nominated. We looked for evidence of such things as career advancement, technical skills, and creativity and innovation; we considered a nominee’s awards and competition prizes, publications, and compositions, and significant positions in the mix. Our selections were not limited merely to organists but reflect the breadth of our editorial scope, which includes the organ, harpsichord, carillon, and church music….
Since we had to decline multiple nominees for each one we chose, selecting only 20 from a field of very worthy nominees was quite a challenge.
And on page 27, I found it!
Joey, we are so unbelievably proud of what you have accomplished and know that you are having the time of your life at Yale. We can’t wait to hear you play at the Annual Organ Concert next March 2017! [Hey, thanks for giving me a little credit!]
Also named to this elite “Class” were several who have played concerts in Hawaii: Michael Hey, Wyatt Smith and Gregory Zelek. One feature of the article which I enjoyed reading was the “interesting fact” posed to each student:
Michael Hey: Wearing my flower print shirt, I showed up five minutes before a rehearsal on Carnegie Hall’s main stage. Then, on the backstage monitor, I saw a choir ascend the risers in tuxes and black dresses, and it occurred to me that I was actually grossly underdressed because it was actually a concert. So, in the blink of an eye, a stagehand threw me his XXL black long sleeve polo shirt and pushed me on stage.
Wyatt Smith: Now that I live in the Pacific Northwest, I am becoming more of an outdoor person. I love going for walks in different parks in Seattle, when the sun is out. I even became a member of REI.
Gregory Zelek: Although I look very American, I am half Cuban and only spoke Spanish until the age of four. I spent summers playing the organ in a village in northern Spain called Ramales de la Victoria, and now work at a bilingual church on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.