This Saturday, January 10th at 7 p.m and Sunday, January 11 at 2 p.m., the 23rd annual 2015 Professional Pianist Concert will be held at the Mendocino College Center Theatre. Featured performers are Spencer Brewer, Elena Casanova, Tom Ganoung, Chris James, Elizabeth MacDougall and Ed Reinhart.
Tickets are on sale at Mendocino Book Co. in Ukiah, Mazahar in Willits and Watershed Books in Lakeport. Tickets are the same as they have been for 20 years, $10/students and seniors; $15 general and $25 "I ‘Wanna’ See the Hands" limited seating. For more information call (707) 391-8374.
This concert features all six pianists on stage in a living room environment throughout the concert trading stories and songs with two pianos on stage to accommodate impromptu collaborations. This popular event is an annual sellout because of the diversity and quality of all the diverse music and humor that takes place throughout the evening. The musical selections can range from classical to jazz, boogie woogie to Cuban and.....who knows till that evening!
The Ukiah concert benefits the Ukiah Educational Foundation and the Allegro Scholarship Program. Sponsors are Sparetime Supply in Willits, Ken Fowler Auto, Savings Bank of Mendocino, Ukiah Civic Light Opera, Willits Furniture Center, Waterman Plants, K-WINE/MAX, KOZT-The Coast and KZYX/Z. There will be autographed CD's by the artists for sale in lobby. Refreshments will be provided by Ukiah Civic Light Opera.
ABOUT THE MUSICIANS
Elena Casanova has lived in Mendocino County for the past fourteen years. She often performs as a soloist with the Ukiah Symphony Orchestra and has been a guest of Fort Bragg Center for the Arts, Mendocino College, Lake County Symphony and many others.
She studied at the Alejandro Garcia Caturla Music Conservatory in Havana, the San Francisco Conservatory, Pacific Union College, and graduated with her Bachelor of Music Degree in Piano Performance from University of Redlands. Casanova studied with Robert Bowman, Paul Glover, Annie Kim (a student of the Cuban pianist Jorge Bolet) Louanne Long, Maria D. “Marilola” (Vasquez) Robles, Tom Turinia, Daniel Glover and Lynn Wheeler.
Music is the core of Casanova’s life. Her enthusiasm for the music of Cuba led her to record a piano solo album released on the MSR Label in 2005. Her album “Recordando” is a sampling of the Maestros of Cuban Classical Music. Her Concerto repertoire includes among others Khachaturian’s Piano Concerto in D-flat major, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 “The Emperor”. She also works with numerous artists and can be seen on the stage playing Latin jazz, rock, or tango as well as chamber music.
Casanova is a very active member of the community in Mendocino County. She is president of the Board of Ukiah Community Concert Association and donates her time and energy to promote non-profit organizations in her community. She also enjoys teaching a handful of students that include her children Adrian and Briana.
Ed Reinhart, alias Earl Dixon, has been "boogying" his way around Mendocino County for over three decades. Some of his stage names over the years have been "Rico Suave", Bud Shake, Earl Dixon and many others. Reinhart is best known as the king of boogie-woogie and blues and in the presence of Mr. Boogie, no one is left not tapping their feet. With his release in the mid 90's of "Got Some on My Fingers," which featured tunes he crafted, the CD was a regional hit with all of his fans for the music rocked off the CD player and it established him as a musical force locally. He has been the front man for many local boogie/R&B bands including the "Burning Sensations." He performed in three productions with Spencer Brewer in "Please don't Shoot the Piano Player", "Dueling Pianos," and “Drooling Pianos’ the first production for the Willits Playhouse...all to sold-out performances.
Tom Ganoung has been teaching, composing, recording and performing since arriving in Lake County in the fall of 1988. On July 1, 1993 Tom Ganoung Marilynn Tollefsen and Michael Coughenour founded the Ukiah School of Music. In 2004, consulting with Ukiah School of Music instructors and benefactor Peter Richardson, Tom established a new school facility on Oak Street. In January of 2000 Tom created The Allegro Scholarship Program, as the result of a "real need situation". This organization assists gifted and talented musicians in need by supplementing monthly tuition payments.
Tom played the very first Professional Pianist Concert; in 1992 and has continued, each year. Tom is currently composing, teaching in two counties, fund-raising, grant writing for the Allegro Scholarship Program and performing with the Lake County Symphony. He sees music education and live performance as vital resources for the survival of civilization. Tom’s most current multi-pianist compact disc, Redwood Aire, is a collection of piano solos written and performed by the composers: Marilynn Tollefsen, Michael Coughenour, Tom Ganoung and Spencer Brewer. This is the group's second recording together. Their first self-titled recording, Laughter in the River, is in its third pressing. Tom’s debut piano/keyboard album, childhood promise continues to delight the listening public, young and old. In the spring of 2004, he accompanied vocalist daughter, Cynthia, on a piano/vocal album of jazz standards entitled Prelude to Love. The tracks for a new CD - a collection of live performance recordings - and DVD recordings have been made and should see release in 2010.
Native Ukiahan Elizabeth MacDougall has been teaching piano at Mendocino College since 1985. She is a recipient of the Mendocino College President's Award Year 2000 for Excellence in Teaching and the 2012 Adjunct Teacher of the Year awarded by the Mendocino College Faculty. MacDougall received her Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from the University of the Pacific in Stockton in 1981 and her Master of Music in Piano Performance and Pedagogy in 1983. Her CD, "New Perspective," features her exquisitely performed works of Chopin, Beethoven, Debussy, Mozart and Bach.
For over three decades Spencer Brewer has been a composer-pianist-producer with 17 solo and duet albums to his credit. Brewer’s music has been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Sex in the City, 30 Something, Home Alone 2, the 1988 thru the 2004 Olympic World games, and virtually every TV and radio station in the world. He wrote the National YMCA theme song, the National Big Brothers/Big Sisters theme song, scored the award-winning films on racism, "The Color of Fear" and "Last Chance for Eden," contributed music for the feature film "Heartwood," and was honored this year as the Arts Champion of Mendocino County by the Mendocino County Arts Council. As a local community promoter, Brewer has helped birth many successful local events such as Sundays in the Park, Acoustic Café, The Professional Pianists Concert, Redwood Valley Outdoor Environmental Center, Ukiah Educational Foundation, Music for Youth, Bandslam and many others. He builds ‘Assemblage’ art sculptures with his wife Esther and is currently a marketing consultant for various companies.
Chris James grew up in the jazz scene of San Francisco in the 1960's and 70's. Chris' father was a locally renowned trumpet player who used to play with all the touring acts performing in the bay area. Jazz greats such as Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, and Tony Bennett, as well as playing with local friends Paul Desmond and Cal Tjader. Chris would often sit in the light booth of the Fairmont Hotel Venetian room and watch the big bands with these great artists, then meet them after the show. Chris James’ own music career spans from 1972 to the present. He has performed with Stan Getz, Richie Cole, and worked along side Dave Brubeck, Sarah Vaughan, Stan Getz, Woody Herman, George Shearing, and many others. Chris has toured and performed nationally at numerous colleges, jazz festivals, jazz cruises, jazz clubs, and concerts. Chris released Just One More Kiss in 2010 and is his first jazz album since 1986. The CD is a compilation of 7 years of live and studio recordings in Little Rock Arkansas jazz greats Dave Rogers (drums) and Joe Vick (bass). Chris recently formed
The New Chris James Quartet and will soon be performing in jazz venues in the greater Seattle area. This group is pulling together three other very talented players from Seattle, Osama Afifi on Bass, Wayne Ledbetter on Sax, and Wade Reeves on Drums. Their repertoire will be an eclectic list of tunes with an emphasis on jazz fusion, funk, smooth jazz, and swing.