Local musician bidding farewell to the Gate City with one final performance - East Idaho News
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Local musician bidding farewell to the Gate City with one final performance

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POCATELLO — Piano notes slowly but deliberately drifted down a hallway in the Idaho State University Fine Arts building.

It was May 13, nine days after graduation, and the halls of the building would have been silent if not for this music. The musician at the piano keys in room 220 is Gabriel Lowman, an ISU employee and 2021 music graduate.

Lowman was playing a piece he’s never performed live, and this is his favorite room to play in. He’s looking forward to debuting the song to the public for the first time during a farewell concert in Goranson Hall later this month. It will be his final performance at ISU before he moves to Colorado for graduate school.

As he prepares for the next chapter, Lowman reflects on his love of music and ISU.

Many at his level might balk at the comparison, but the way he sees it, he’s playing with a toy.

“In the highest complimentary form, the piano is a toy. It is a vessel for playing,” Lowman said. “Adults call them hobbies, or we call them interests. We find a way to avoid calling it play.”

The piano is a toy Lowman has been interested in since childhood. He was just a curly-haired toddler when he started banging on the keys and flipping his head wildly to the noise.

When Lowman was a little older, his piano teacher asked if he knew the difference between the high side and the low side of the piano. His answer was wrong.

“I distinctly remember thinking, ‘oh no, I’m doomed. I’m gonna mess this whole piano thing up’,” Lowman said.

But he kept practicing and kept improving.

He took a stab at songwriting for the first time in eighth grade. At his friend’s suggestion, he wrote it for the girl he had a crush on.

“It was a really horrible love song, and I showed it to her and about a week later she sent her friend to break up with me, and I wonder if it was the quality of the song (that caused it),” Lowman laughed.

Despite that, Lowman was hooked. That year, he wrote a few dozen of what he now describes as “garbage songs.”

“I didn’t think they were garbage yet, but they were and that’s part of the process,” Lowman said.

He explained that people who grow to write good and sincere art also create work that’s “cringe.”

“If you’re making sincere art there’s always going to be people who think that that is insane or cringe,” Lowman said.

Gabriel Lowman 220
Lowman plays piano in room 220. | Logan Ramsey, EastIdahoNews.com

The song Lowman was playing last Monday is one he wrote in 2020 called “The Absence of Ritalin.”

He wrote the song while he was trying to find a doctor to treat his ADHD. His brother called him after getting his own diagnosis and prescription for the condition, and told Lowman he should do the same.

Writing this piece helped Lowman deal with his frustration while he spent two and a half years trying to get medicated. For him, playing the piano is a good way to process emotions.

“It’s a wonderful place for sitting with and processing emotion. I think that it brings emotions out that you may have not been facing or that you may not have been aware of in a really beautiful way,” Lowman said.

A performance with Gabriel Lowman. | Logan Ramsey, EastIdahoNews.com

Although room 220 is still his favorite place to come and play, he’s looking forward to discovering new places to perform at the University of Colorado Boulder. Here, he’ll pursue a masters degree in collaborative piano music.

Still, he has mixed emotions about leaving.

“There’s a lot of excitement. I’m ready to move, but I’m trying to enjoy the present moment,” Lowman said.

In order to say goodbye to the city he’s called home since his birth, he’s holding a farewell concert he’s calling “Recital Redux.” He considers the concert, which is being held on May 31 at 7:30 p.m., somewhat of a “do over” of his senior recital.

Recital Redux

“I was so burnt out when I did my official senior graduation recital,” Lowman explained. “I’ve now figured out what I want to do and what that sounds like, and I’m very proudly presenting that.”

Lowman is hoping to fundraise with this concert, but it’s free for the public to attend. Any funds that people donate will cover any unexpected expenses for his move.

But regardless of whether people donate, he’s just excited to show the community what he’s been working on for the last four years.

“I learned 100 minutes of music. I want to perform it somewhere,” Lowman said. “I want to perform and just share music with people.”

Gabriel Lowman on stage
Lowman plays piano on stage. | Logan Ramsey, EastIdahoNews.com