Clarinet test at Denarau

AS naturally as a songbird lets loose with its melodious tunes, Laura Knight sashayed onto stage at the Radisson Blu Resort and whipping out her clarinet, captivated the audience with effortless charm.

The initially noisy room was the scene of a solo art exhibition but as she began her nine-minute performance, revellers were drawn to a standstill of quiet appreciation, soaking in the ghostly melody of the talented music student’s clarinet against a piano-backing track.

“I played a piece on clarinet by composer Braun and clarinet sonata originally for clarinet and piano but as I don’t’ have a piano player, I actually had a backing track played,” she explained.

The ease with which Laura played the piece belied the fact that the 17-year-old International School Nadi student was performing a live assessment for a rigorous diploma program. As she later explained, her love affair with the reedy instrument began eight years ago and grew with the discovery she had the talent for it, which Laura is only too happy to share.

“I have been playing this piece for quite a while. I played it for an exam last year and it is one of my favourite pieces so when I was told that I’d be performing here for my assessment, I thought I’d play this one.”

Laura made no bones about what is required admitting to demands on her time, commitment, dedication and long sessions of practice necessary for a rendition of the piece she played at Denarau.

“I learnt to play in Australia and was in bands, clarinet choirs and I just loved it so much,” Laura said. “It’s just amazing, an amazing feeling you get.”

Although music wasn’t initially offered as a subject for her school program, she determinedly insisted.

“I’ve always really loved music and really pushed to have music as a subject because I loved the clarinet and music. I could have played guitar or piano but the clarinet is my favourite instrument.”

Reaching out, Laura understands the minimal exposure of clarinets on the local frontier and expresses an innate desire to extend her own appreciation of the instrument.

“I really find that people here don’t know what a clarinet is so it is really interesting to show people what it is and what it sounds like and people usually react very differently. They find it really interesting, compared to Australia, where everyone knows what a clarinet is.”

The daughter of a Denarau resort general manager, she has lived in Fiji for close to two years and is wrapping up her last year of high school.

“I’m thinking of going to London because I have family there, so I might take a year to travel and see the world because that’s a passion of mine and I do actually want to do music as a career. I want to do music education and teach in small schools like ISN.”