Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS

Season 2: Episode 3 - Meeting Our Heroes

Please turn on Javascript to view this video.

Fourteen-year old Travis Johnson from Milwaukie, Oregon chose the wood for his own custom-made guitar on which he performs Boppin’ by Bryan Johannson, a piece commissioned for him, on this episode of From the Top at Carnegie Hall. Seventeen-year old marimba player Jingchen Sun moved to New York City after her father sold the family’s home in China to pay for her marimba. Inspired by a chance meeting with the great marimba player and composer Keiko Abe, Jingchen gives an energetic performance of Nebojsa Jovan Zivkovic’s Ultimatum I before a live audience. Twelve-year old MacKenzie Melemend from Paxton, Massachusetts is a bowling champion and a master magician in addition to being a skilled pianist. His pursuit of the piano has enabled him to meet President Bush, Rosie O’Donnell, and Marvin Hamlisch, and to perform as part of a Mozart program on The Discovery Channel. MacKenzie closes the episode with a performance of Prokofiev’s Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op. 1.


Performer Bios

Jingchen Sun Jingchen Sun

Jingchen Sun (marimba), 17, is a recipient of From the Top's $10,000 Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award.

Mackenzie Melemed Mackenzie Melemed

Mackenzie Melemed (piano), 13, is a seventh grade student at the Paxton Center School in Paxton, Massachusetts.

Travis Johnson Travis Johnson

Travis Johnson (guitar), 15, is from Milwaukie, Oregon and attends Gladstone High School in Gladstone, Oregon.

Educational Resources

Episode 3: Guitar Is Everywhere! Episode 3: Guitar Is Everywhere!

A quick activity (10-15 minutes) in which students watch a guitar performance and discuss the versatility of this amazing instrument.

Episode 3: Marimba Beat Episode 3: Marimba Beat

In this activity students will develop ideas and plans for constructing their own marimbas using readily available materials. As a variation, students could construct other percussion instruments such as xylophones or drums.

From the Top The Bernard Osher Foundation Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Carnegie Hall Don Mischer Productions WGBH From the Top