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Sixty pianists of all ages and abilities from the Ada area will present a unique concert Jan. 23 at East Central University, with as many as 16 pianists performing at the same time on eight pianos.

The ECU Department of Music, in conjunction with the 2011 worldwide celebration of Collaborative Music, will present the Piano Ensemble Concert at 2:30 p.m. in the Ataloa Theatre in the Hallie Brown Ford Fine Arts Center. The concert is being coordinated by ECU music instructor W.T. Skye Garcia and has been officially registered with the Music Teacher’s National Association.

The concert is free and open to the public, and a reception will follow.

“With so many young piano students in the community, as well as current ECU students, graduates, faculty and the community piano enthusiasts to draw from, organizing a piano ensemble concert seemed to be an ideal way for all of us to participate directly in the international celebration of collaborative music,” Garcia said.

Photo of W.T. Skye Garcia

“Collaboration in music is a wonderful way to enhance group participation in the presentation of arts, where hours of solitary practice and the rigors of solo performance can often be somewhat overwhelming.”

The concert will feature performances of 14 works by multiple teams including duets (four hands/one piano), duo (four hands/two pianos), trios (six hands/one piano), and quartets (eight hands/two pianos).

Another aspect of the collaborative nature of the program will be the use of video presentations to accompany three of the numbers. “The Stars and Stripes over Ada,” a photographic collage of American flags flown around the city, will be shown during the performance of the finale, “The Stars and Stripes Forever” by John Phillip Sousa.

Other visual presentations include photographs of a Canadian farm by professional photographers Paul Beebe and Steve Schneider, both from Upsala, Ontario, Canada, to accompany the selection “Big River Barn Dance” by Carrie Kraft, and technical water photography by ECU student Angela Marshall to accompany the ECU Faculty Quartet presentation of “Allegro Deciso” from G.F. Handel’s famous “Water Music.”

An additional feature of the concert will be two numbers specially choreographed for Collage, ECU’s dance ensemble, by director Dr. Victoria Dansby. The dancers will perform to the pastoral “Appalachian Rhapsody” by composer Randall Hartsell and the ever popular standard “Ain’t Misbehavin’” by Thomas “Fats” Waller and Harry Brooks.

“The enthusiastic response of pianists from Ada to this event has been extremely gratifying,” Garcia said. “An event of this nature and magnitude is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.” 

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