By Michael Tseng
To the talented and 12 language-vocalist Maki Hsieh, no obstacle stands in her way. Like a firefly in the moonlight, Hsieh always seems to manage to create her own spotlight, and dazzle the audience with her mix of classical, rock, and techno-music. Although she was born deaf in her left ear, she still manages to overcome her difficulties, and pursue her passion in music. Last Saturday night, Maki Hsieh displayed the full limit of her artistic talent in her debut concert, New Moon, an afternoon spectacle of lights, dance, drums, and opera all merging together to create an Eden of the arts.
Throughout the concert, the professionally trained musician played timeless classics, such as Sarah Brightman’s Time to Say Goodbye, Van Halen’s Jump, and a variant of Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal. Partnering with her two daughters, Arcadia High School’s Chanteurs and the band Live from Earth, Hsieh delivers a masterpiece and diverse set of songs. Each style is represented with a different dress: A stunning white gown accompanies an opera performance and a golden dress engraved with peacock feathers for her Rock and Roll finale. The entire audience can feel the emotions that she pours into her music, listening to and feeling the vibrations and strum of her violin. Although there were a few tonal inconsistencies in her vocals, these mistakes helped add on to the ambiance of a live performance, and each loud shout and riff reverberated deep within the entire room. Hsieh truly has a way of captivating others with her proactive and feisty performing style.
Hsieh, as the director of the Arcadia Performing Arts Center, has heavily advocated for the development of art programs in school districts all over the state. She believes that art is an important cultural aspect that brings family together, and also inspires students and young children to pursue their dreams. In fact, an important reason she held the concert was to entertain the children and to show them the many different styles of music.
“Before we started, I had a fear that children wouldn’t come, and I thought that I might walk on a venue and see all my VIP’s there but none of the kids. I was really happy to see the room filled with children holding glow sticks, waving them as they listened along.” Hsieh says.
Hsieh has dedicated her performance to expressing her emotions and the difficulties that she has faced in her life. She is able to take all of her negative experiences, from small problems such as stage difficulties to larger obstacles including cultural constraints as an Asian female performer and her sister’s passing, and create something that the whole audience can resonate with. In fact, she believes that only through suffering, is one able to discover their personalities and creativity.
“In modern society, we try to medicate and get away from emotions, through gaming or other things, but we never really sit or self-reflect with those emotions. When a setback or obstacle happens, I encourage people to use their art to sit with it, like music, writing, athletics, find a way to sit with it, not intellectually, but just pondering and finding a way to overcome and relieve these emotions.”
As the concert came to an end, night arose, and the moonlight attempted to overshine her performance. However, like a firefly, Hsieh remains strong, creating her own light and beckoning others toward her. She knows that she has succeeded in inspiring a future generation to follow their dreams, and will continue to act as the trailblazer for aspiring youth. Even though the moon is the brightest object in the night sky, in that moment, Hsieh shined brighter than ever before, dazzling everyone around her.