Bach, Beethoven, or Bastida?
By Andrew Walsh '21
Just like the intro of a song comes the start of a great story. When piano teacher Mrs. Teri Larson first met Saint Thomas Academy’s very own Freddy Bastida, she recalled thinking that “this child could be anything he wants to be, and I want to work with him.” Today as she reminisces of her years teaching Freddy to play, she still firmly believes that “It will be his life’s work to bring to the surface and allow everyone to see and witness the beauty he brings to the piano and his voice,” Piano and his music enable Freddy to connect with others on a musical and conversational level.
Freddy starts to play. His eyes lock onto the keys with unbreakable focus. Then for the duration of the song, he puts everyone around him in awe. As his playing slows and the notes come to an end, he leaves his audience immediately requesting an encore. Freddy remarks that “piano makes me feel like I can escape from everything around me.” While Freddy's music amazes all of those around him, for the moment he is playing, everything else is nonexistent. It's just him, the piano, and the sound of remarkable music.
Few listeners have had the pleasure of hearing Freddy play. While many view Freddy as the fun loving hockey player always able to lighten up a room, far fewer know of his outstanding talents as a musician. From the age of three until thirteen, Freddy had steeped himself in music, singing in the choir for ten years and playing the piano for four. While his skills playing the piano increased greatly under lessons, he sought the freedom to play his own music for himself and those around him.
Subsequently, Freddy’s skill as a pianist continued after he stopped playing lessons.
He taught himself countless songs across multiple genres, playing classics such as “Alla Turca” and “Fur Elise” to many modern songs, such as Lukas Graham’s “7 Years.” Whether his audience is young or old, he seems always prepared with the right song for the right time.
Freddy has discovered countless benefits in playing the piano. First, he finds it to be an escape from all the stresses of highschool life: “Piano is an escape because I can focus on my music and not have anyone judge me,” remarks Freddy. He also has developed the skill of persistence due to his music. Not every song is easy to learn. It is often difficult at first, but one must persevere to master the art. This simple lesson Freddy noted can be found in every aspect of life and exemplifies the importance of persistence.
As the story concludes, so does a song's outro. Freddy has his own philosophy on playing the piano as well. He has played for others countless times, such as before the Military Ball at the Commodore Restaurant, at recitals in the Basilica of Saint Mary, in the STA court at the end of the day, or even at home surrounded by his family. Despite his often awestruck audience, Freddy really just plays the piano for his love of music. He does not worry about what others think of his talent; it is all about his love of the craft. As my interview with Freddy completed, he ended with this quote, which sums up his philosophy on life and the piano: “Piano is a part of life, there may be many ups and downs in a performance but the symphony keeps on playing.”