Pianos at their finest: The Piano Area Holiday Concert

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Taken by Kiffer Reveling Dec. 5

 With the holidays quickly approaching, the atmosphere is bustling and the city is filled with crowds of people. Luckily the Piano Area is holding their annual Holiday Concert for people to come and relax by listening to some live holiday music.

The Piano Area is a group of School of Music piano faculty, preparatory faculty, and about 70 piano majors, who do performances to bring awareness to their outreach program. This program is dedicated to teaching the joys of music at schools where a majority of the students are at the poverty line or come from one-parent households. The exciting news is that one student who comes from this background has been elected to perform at Libby Hall at this year’s concert.

Dr. Susan Duehlmeier, a member of the Piano Area chair, is pleased to bring this concert to the U. “We feel like especially [at] this time, it will bring people together and hopefully music is what unites people,” she said. 

This holiday concert has been going on for about 20 years. The concert will feature pieces such as “Deck the Halls” and “Oh Come All Ye Faithful,” in addition to other recognizable favorites. Duehlmeier explained the music selection by saying, “Often times when you hear something that you’ve known from your childhood, it brings back some good memories.” 

Arrangements by Lenora Brown, a faculty member in the U’s School of Music, will also be performed. The Piano Area has been working since the beginning of the year to be able to make this event the best it can be. “It’s our gift to the community,” Duehlmeier said. It’s a long process with a lot of last minute preparation, but to be able to see a music concert like this will make it worth it. Duehlmeier added, “We have up to five pianos playing at the same time. It’s quite a spectacle.” With ensembles both small and large, from student ensembles to faculty ones, and even ensembles from both the Ladies in Red and Men in Black, it’s a great way to listen to live holiday music on campus.

The best thing about this event is that it is only an hour long. As such, it is the perfect way to celebrate another year of both holiday cheer and the end of the fall semester. Anyone is welcome as you’ll see children and adults of many ages to feel this warmth of music. 

 “We offer a concert that’s family friendly and is not too long; it’s kind of a celebration. We look at it as a celebration of music and celebration of holidays,” Duehlmeier said.

After the concert, there will also be a free reception located at Thompson Hall, where faculty, students, families and friends can enjoy food and each other’s company. It’s also an amazing opportunity to learn more about the Piano Outreach Program and learn of ways to support them.

The Piano Area Holiday Concert will take place Sunday, Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. in the Libby Gardner Concert Hall. Admission is free to all.

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