Story by Haley Cafarella | Correspondent
“As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” 1 Peter 4:10
Peter David, an 18-year-old member of Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish’s youth choir, has used his musical gift at the piano since he was 7 years old.
“I started by learning the keys on the piano one note at a time,” the Moorestown parishioner said. “It got to a point where I really got the hang of it and since then, I just loved playing.
“I couldn’t remember the exact reason as to what got me interested in piano, but I think my mother was learning piano at the time, and I really wanted to be like her so she set me up with the lessons,” he added.
It wasn’t long after that David joined his parish’s youth choir, catching the attention of Paula Quann, parish youth music minister.
“Peter joined the Our Lady of Good Counsel youth choir when he was in the fifth grade,” Quann said. “At that time, my son Michael, a junior in high school, was our accompanist. Peter was studying the piano privately and loved to watch Michael play. Toward the end of the choir year, Peter asked if he could accompany our final choir piece. … The following week, he returned to our rehearsal and had mastered the music.”
Quann said David entered a competition with the choir the next year and won the “Best Accompanist” award. She feels that his abilities have only gotten better since then, and he can “play anything from classical to contemporary Christian music.”
“One of my roles in the youth ministry is to help my students recognize that God has gifted them for the purpose of servicing and glorifying him and then provide them with the opportunity of doing just that,” Quann said, adding that David has a gift.
During his time with the youth choir, David has accompanied the junior choir, as well as the high school praise band and string ensemble.
He also taught piano while his teacher was on vacation for two months.
“Teaching piano to other kids has been a tremendous experience,” he said. “Learning to interact and showing them how the piano is supposed to be played always puts a smile on my face.”
He also plays solo pieces, even winning a competition at Carnegie Hall as the “Music Fest 2013 Grand Prix” winner, which was a competition for teenagers. David was 14 at the time. This is a victory of which he is very proud.
“When I found out that I won, I felt so overjoyed!” he said. “The piece that won me the competition was ‘Fantasie Impromptu’ by Chopin. My teacher [at the time] recommended the competition to me, and I thought it would be a great opportunity to showcase my talent.”
Now a senior at Holy Cross Academy, Delran, David has been busy applying to colleges. His dream school, he said, is Villanova University in Pennsylvania, because he believes the institution will provide him with a thorough education and the opportunity to strengthen his Christian faith.
More than a week ago, David’s dream came true: he was accepted to Villanova on a full scholarship.
Once in college, David is looking to work in the medical field to produce medicine or work with chemicals as a chemical engineer. Though piano is not a part of his dream, he plans to continue practicing in his spare time as a hobby.
As his senior year comes to an end, David is preparing for the parish’s annual youth concert, which will be held May 7. This will be David’s last concert with the youth choir.
“I feel sad yet happy because even though I am going to miss being a part of my choir, I am leaving on a good note knowing that my whole parish enjoyed the music I’ve been playing over the years,” David said.
Quann said she is going to miss David when he graduates, but trusts that the two will keep in contact.
“I think he will be a lifelong friend no matter where life takes us,” she said.