Sibling revelry: A rising senior at Steinbrenner H.S., Abigale is the second member of the Pfingsten family to be featured in CL’s periodic survey of up-and-coming artists: Her brother John was profiled four years ago when he was 11. Like John, Abigale is a very talented pianist and a scholarship student at the Patel Conservatory; she and her brother have occasionally competed as a team, winning state competitions for piano duets two years running. Their younger brother Samuel is a Patel-trained pianist, too, and has also competed on the state level. Their parents, Larry and Melo, aren’t musical (he’s sales manager at Lexus Tampa Bay, she’s a former U.N. translator from Ecuador), but they sure do know how to raise talented kids.
Armload of accolades: The trophies Abigale is holding in the photo (our idea, not hers) are for her multiple Superior-rated piano performances in the National Federation of Music Clubs competitions.
Why she loves piano (which she’s been playing for 10 years): “I love taking on challenges — like Chopin and Beethoven. They sound so powerful. It fills you, it fills the room — the depth of it.”
But she’s not just about piano: She’s also studying voice and contemporary dance and loves doing musical theater. “I like to think of myself as a performer.”
The best thing about musical theater? Rehearsal! “I’m always looking at the clock — ‘Oh god, we only have half an hour left.’”
And then there's this: “Being able to see the final work pay off and get the energy from the audience, it’s such an overwhelming feeling of joy.” She’s played Tzeitel in Fiddler on the Roof and Miss Minchin in A Little Princess, but also loved being part of a small ensemble cast in Little Shop of Horrors.
An unforgettable moment: “I remember as we were singing the big powerful last note of the second number, ‘Skid Row,’ I saw this one man turn to the person next to him and mouth the words, 'Wow, this is good.'”
Long hours: She leaves Steinbrenner after 6th period at 1, goes to Patel from 4-8, is home by 9 and does homework till “midnight, 1 o’clock-ish,” then wakes up at 6 and does it all over again. She practices piano two hours or so a day, six days a week.
Reaching out: For her senior project, she wants to use her Spanish and musical abilities to help an elementary school with a large Hispanic population. “I want to get a group of them in an after-school program and put on a Christmas recital for their parents. I would be able to teach a basic choir class and teach them Christmas songs.”