Midsommer Piano Magic
June 24, 2019
How do you mark the passage of time? For fifteen years now, I have felt the rhythm of the year through piano celebrations, one in December, one in June, at the Solstice. Lovely.
In the early dark of December, we light candles and the children play pieces they have worked on since summer and also a holiday song or carol. The audience sings along, and not only does it make for good community, but engages children in another function of a pianist: accompanying. Bill sometimes sings, and parents pull out pieces they want to play. It's a festive midwinter kickoff to the holiday season.
Approaching Midsummer six months later, the atmosphere is light and rose-filled and end-of-the-school-year joyous. This year on Sunday, June 9, 2019 we celebrated "Baroque to Boogie, " our 15th June recital at Harmony of the Spheres piano studio. Eleven children ages 7 to 16, grades 2 to 10, played repertoire for an audience of 38 parents, grandparents and siblings, pieces they have had six months to prepare. This year the program included beginning tunes to Bach Minuets, Beethoven's Sonatina and Romanza and his famous Fur Elise, a Scarlatti Sonata, CPE Bach's Solfeggietto, a Chopin Polonaise and his "Minute Waltz. In between, there was also a mix of more contemporary music--jazz, boogie and energetic pieces by Robert Vandall and Mark Nevin (Tango Bongo and Banjo Strummer) and the energetic "Tuxedo Jazz" by Martha Mier. Duets were also popular, with a mother-daughter combo, a father- son rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and three duets with two BFF fourth grade girls. And a high school freshman, who is in an all-girl band at school, ended the program in duet with me playing BilIy Joel's Piano Man. Everyone left humming, "Sing us a song, you're the piano man." It was a magical afternoon!
Again advanced pianists from our satellite piano program at Creative Learning at FPC also played--fun because the older students in my studio are their "Practice Partners, high school age kids volunteering one day a week throughout the year to practice with these children, grades 2-5. I also teach there one day a week and coordinate their music program. More on Creative Learning in the next post.
So now it's summer. Some will take a few lessons, some will rest. Including me.