By Trent Blackham
Amid the commotion of students rushing to class or meeting friends in the Wilkinson Center, students may ignore music coming from a piano, assuming it is produced by an EFY youth goofing around. But at the northeast corner of the terrace, a young girl sits playing music that does not stay in the background for long.
“Like many people, I heard her as I was just passing through the Wilk, going home,” said Jared Green, from Beaverton, Ore., majoring in Japanese and business, who met the girl while she was playing. “I thought it was real pretty music.”
For the last week, the young woman has been turning heads and gaining support with her music.
Hiromi Hyodo, 25, stops and plays the piano in the Wilkinson Center on her way home from work, at the Morris Center Cafeteria.
Hyodo said she left her life in Kyoto, Japan, hoping to pursue her musical dreams.
Hyodo began her musical journey at the young age of 3. Her parents bought her a piano and hired a strict private piano teacher.
Hyodo said she recognizes her tough teacher as a source of her talent.
“My teacher was very strict,” Hyodo said. “But compared to other teachers, she was the best.”
However, when Hyodo became older, her parents lost interest in her music. As is often the case with many conservative families in Japan, Hiromi”s family began pressuring her to pursue other interests.
“I couldn”t practice the piano too much,” Hyodo said. “Everybody said to me, you have to get married… I don”t like that, I have my way.”
Hyodo”s way was her music. Through the piano, she found a constructive outlet for her pain in dealing with her parents and other challenges.
Eventually, Hyodo said she decided she would leave her life in Japan and come to America where she hoped people would share her appreciation of music.
But her desire to leave was met with a lot of opposition. So, she made her plans without the consent of her parents.
“I try save up money,” Hyodo said in a thick Japanese accent. “I didn”t say to parents about go to America, and I try to say parents go to America, and they was very kind of angry.”
In September 2003, Hyodo finally moved to America. She began studying at the BYU English Language Center.
Hyodo is taking a break from her schooling to save money and spend more time with her compositions.
Since her arrival in America, Hyodo said she has met many who appreciate her talents and share her enjoyment of music.
Often Hyodo performs small concerts at her ward meetinghouse. Her most recent performance was last Thursday.
Michael Lehnardt, a physiology and developmental biology major from Springville, who attended the performance Thursday, said he discovered Hyodo”s music while he was playing basketball at the same local church.
“I just heard music from the gym and I didn”t know who it was,” Lehnardt said. “I walked in and it was this tiny little girl playing music. And that was very impressive.”
Lehnardt said he was moved by Hyodo”s music.
“I think it was uplifting and inspiring,” Lehnardt said. “It made you think about what one can do if they work at it, and if they try hard enough. It makes me want to wake up early and learn to do new things.”
Hyodo said she hopes she can serve her fellow students by sharing her talents.
“She does it because she loves it,” Green said. “And she does it because she likes to help people. And hopefully, her music helps people.”