WC grad is movin’ on up from College Park to Central Park
Australian pianist takes his music education to NYC
By Misty Browning
Weatherford College graduate and pianist Xavier Kim always knew he would travel to the United States for his education because of its eclectic music scene.
The problem was that after visiting a wide variety of schools in North Texas, he just couldn’t decide which school he wanted to attend. It took some fatherly intuition to set him on the path to Parker County’s own college on the hill.
“My dad works in Fort Worth and worked with Weatherford College,” he explained. “He was meeting and talking about some digital agriculture stuff he was working on and found out that they have a music program. He talked to Dean Duane Durett and said I should come to check it out. I was offered a scholarship and it looked like a great way to spend two years getting my basics done before I branched out to somewhere else.”
Xavier started playing the piano in Australia at a young age after his mom asked him one day in the car if he wanted to take some lessons. Most young piano students start by playing traditional classical music, including Xavier, but he didn’t like that technique and decided to take a four-year break.
It wasn’t until middle school that he started to play the piano again, but this time it was jazz and not classical music. It was the broad style and complex harmonies of jazz music that has kept Xavier playing all these years, paving quite a musical path.
“I love jazz because of the creativity and the communication you can have between other musicians. I feel like jazz is improvising and being creative; you can really let your personality shine,” he said. “It’s a collaborative form of music with drummers, bass and horn players, and other musicians. It is awesome how well you can communicate with the other people just by playing music.”
Xavier said it wasn’t much of a culture shock coming to the United States from Australia. One of his favorite things back home was Mexican food, but in Australia it was Tex-Mex and not authentic Mexican food. He says he was able to learn a lot about Mexican culture and grew to love it. He also learned a lot about himself these past couple of years.
“Weatherford College has given me a lot of room to grow and become a leader and more confident person. I’ve been a student worker for the past year and led numerous orientations. I’ve also had opportunities to go out and play by myself at clubs and concerts during my free time. For college, I’ve led the jazz band and been sent out to play on occasions for school in Dallas and Arlington. I’ve become a more confident leader.”
Durrett agrees that Xavier shows leadership traits both in and out of the classroom.
“Xavier is an incredible student, musician and young man. Xavier graduated this spring semester from WC, and because of all the talent and hard work he brought, he and our jazz program grew,” Durrett said. “He is the type of student that makes good programs great. Along with his school-related music performances, he and fellow student musician Nuri Han perform in the community, on campus, and for the Arlington Memorial Hospital, which the WC Music program provides music monthly. He is an excellent ambassador for WC.”
Xavier’s hard work and talents earned him a scholarship to the City University of New York (CUNY) where he will begin classes there this fall to earn a bachelor’s degree in jazz performance.
“I want to stay in the city and be present in the jazz scene there. Eventually, I might go on to Europe and go back home. As of right now, I want to spend the foreseeable future in New York,” Kim said. “I would love to have a 10-year career in the city working, playing music, meeting new people. Later down the road, I wouldn’t mind getting my master’s degree at Julliard.”
Even though Xavier is excited to be headed to New York in a couple of months, he will miss WC. This small-town college has left a lasting impact on him in the short time he has been here, preparing him for the next step in his educational journey.
“I’ve met so many good people here in the 2.5 years I’ve been here,” he said. “Many awesome people, like the staff that helps around the school. I’ve met a lot of awesome students and made lifelong friends.”