Cheng’s musical prowess astounds


Cheng's parents

A young Cheng performs during a piano recital about a decade ago. “At the time, I really wasn’t interested, but I’m glad that I learned at such a young age because it gave me a foundation,” Cheng said.

Senior Michael Cheng has wanted to be a musician since fourth grade. That’s when his brother introduced him to Green Day’s song, “21 Guns.”
“When I picked up the guitar, that was the first song that I learned and played,” Cheng said.
Guitar teacher Brian Dickson immediately recognized Cheng’s potential from the hard work and dedication he demonstrated as a freshman in Gifted and Talented Guitar III.
“Cheng’s talent, patience and humility allow him to have a very positive influence on others,” Dickson said.
Cheng is a founding member of the Fallback Plan, a pop punk and alternative group launched Cheng’s freshman year, that has since gone on to perform covers and original compositions at Open Mic Night here and Rams’ Head Live in Baltimore.
Cheng remembers antics from the Rams’ Head performance, when senior Jason Zhang distracted the crowd to allow Cheng time to restring one of his guitar’s cords by giving a shout out to gay marriage, which had recently been legalized nationwide.
“We started playing our slow song, and he actually went out to the audience because he had a wireless guitar,” Cheng said. “It was hilarious.”
Zhang has been with Cheng since the start.
“Anything musical he picks up is like second nature to him,” Zhang said.
The band now includes sophomore Liam Slowey and senior Alex Stocksdale.
Cheng, a tenor, is also involved with choir, recounting the time choir teacher Christina Senita approached him after his performance at ArtFest his sophomore year. He auditioned and was put into Gifted and Talented Choir his junior year.
A pianist since age 8, Cheng is working on an R&B collaboration with junior Claire Marsh.
“I’ve always admired Michael’s confidence and ability to take risks,” Marsh said. “He’s never afraid to try new things.”
He’s also preparing for the Brahms Requiem Benefit Concert in support of terrorist attack victims, which is at the Trinity Episcopal Church in Towson on Dec. 30 at 7 p.m.
For Cheng, music will always be a part of his identity.
“I can’t imagine my life without it,” Cheng said. “It brings me a happiness that nothing else can.”