Student shines on Las Vegas stage!
by Kristen M. G. Owen
Lowe’s Companies, Inc.
Digital Content Producer,
If you take a trip to the Lowe’s Home Improvement store in Chelsea, Manhattan, and stop by the tools and hardware department, you might see Michael Bent. As a customer service associate, his hands pick up tools to assist customers, write out product lists and demonstrate how to use items so customers can complete their projects. When he’s not at work, Michael, who is a junior at Nyack College, uses his hands to play the strings of a cello.
Michael started playing the cello at nine years old in his fourth-grade orchestra, after discovering that his first instrument of choice – the piano – wasn’t quite for him.
“I didn’t like practicing the piano,” he explained. “Once my mom saw that I wasn’t interested in the piano, she took me to a music store and said, ‘find an instrument that you want to play.’ I heard the sound of a cello and said, ‘I like that one.’”
The rest is history. He discovered he had a natural talent for playing the cello and since that time, Michael has accumulated an impressive list of musical accomplishments. He’s taken countless music lessons and classes, joined bands, and performed at churches, weddings, concerts and even at Lincoln Center. He produced a CD entitled The Gift with pianist and friend, Jason Thomas. He is also a member of The SymphoNYChorus (TSC), a traveling orchestra and choir, under the leadership of Director Henric Ideström. He followed his love of music to college at Nyack, where he is currently pursuing his Bachelors of Music degree in Cello Performance. Oh, and he can add one more item to his resume – he played in Las Vegas as a Lowe’s talent contest winner!
Lowe’s annual talent competition is open to employees across the company. Participants are asked to submit information and a video of their talent, and selected winners get the opportunity to perform in front of Lowe’s employees who attend a company-wide meeting in Las Vegas. Many of Michael’s coworkers know he’s a musician, so when his store’s HR manager learned about the competition, he encouraged Michael to try out. He did…and won. Out of more than 260 entries, Michael was one of thirteen winners chosen from across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
“It was pretty amazing [to win],” he said. “I was very excited and thankful for the opportunity.”
On the big stage, Michael was paired with two fellow winners – one an opera singer and the other a pianist – and played a series of medleys in tribute to the community service work completed by Lowe’s employees throughout the past year. Together, they performed in front of 3,500 of their Lowe’s colleagues. It was the largest audience for which Michael had ever performed.
The act was a hit, receiving rousing applause.
“I had an awesome time performing with my coworkers and I was amazed at how vast the company is nationwide. Lowe’s definitely does have a lot of talent!”
Michael plans to continue to broaden his talent as a performer. His future performances will be his Junior Recital at Nyack College on Thursday, April 19th, at 7 p.m, and a concert tour in the United Kingdom with TSC in summer 2019.
Printed by permission of Lowe’s Companies, Inc.