Whether it be stepping on a stage as a singer, an ensemble member, or as an accompanist, Christina Li ’20 always shares her heart and passion for music with the audience. Music has been a large part of her life since childhood, when Li started taking piano lessons at four-years-old. Her interest in music grew quickly, and she gave her first performance in 8th grade. Today, Li finds the beauty of music in its open-ended interpretation and the feelings it conjures. She even organizes her playlists based on the different emotions they reflect.
“Each song conjures a different emotion or memory. And that’s the purpose of each playlist, to categorize each feeling,” Li said about her playlist creation process. “The beauty of music is that, even if a song means a specific thing to me, it can conjure a different memory or feeling for someone else.”
It was at Deerfield where Li started finding her own voice as a musician. Her Deerfield music journey started off when she took the Studio Production and Band class with Visual and Performing Arts Teacher John Van Eps her freshman year. The class fundamentally changed her view of music.
“It was the first time that I considered music original,” Li said. “I would also meet with a lot of people in the studio… They all had interesting stories that they wanted to express through their music.”
Branching out to new aspects of music that same year, she co-founded the Reme-D’s (formally the Co-ed acapella group) and joined the student band CODA. During her sophomore year, she wrote and produced her first song, “Young & Reckless.”
“It blows my mind that she has the time to create even with all the stress of Deerfield and that she knows music so thoroughly that she can produce her own,” Nikita Pelletier ’20, a fellow a capella group member, said.
Li’s writing and production process starts with noting chord progressions on the piano or guitar before adding the melody and lyrics into the song. Then, Li turns to her own feelings, even those of disappointment, for inspiration.
“Every time I see her, she is wrapped up in music,” Director of Chamber Music and Orchestra Thomas Bergeron noted. “Christina is one of those students who provides a constant reminder of why I am a music educator.”
Li’s junior year consisted of continuous growth in her interest in the academic and historic aspects of music, her dedication to numerous music groups, and her constant production of song ideas.
This year, Li continues to arrange music for CODA, Rhapso-D’s and Reme-D’s, and shares her musical creations with the Deerfield community.
“CODA’s success demands a master arranger, a driven visionary, and a communicative director. Christina is all three,” Elven Shum ‘20, co-leader of CODA, said. “Not only does she enable everyone to work together, but she also understands how everyone works best together—players and their instruments.”
Others also commented on Li’s extraordinary ability to bring people together. “Christina has always been a confident and enthusiastic leader,” Pelletier said. “She cares about us all and has high expectations that we all want to achieve because she is such a respectable person.”
Mr. Bergeron emphasized her personal qualities as well. “Her immense passion for music, broad range of talent, disciplined work ethic, and mature character makes her a joy to work with on a daily basis,” he commented.
Li will be attending Columbia University for her undergraduate studies and plans to continue exploring music in her academics, outside of school, and even professionally.
In the future, Li hopes to create a music project that will unite people from all over the world.
Li is currently working on her first album. When asked about her motivations and goals, she said, “I don’t want to release a song just for the sake of doing so, but I want to connect the many song ideas I have for this album.”
Li also hinted at her hope for many more projects in the future. In her words, “This album is just the beginning.”