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SAXTONS RIVER, Vt. – What do you do when someone gives you a Steinway piano? You enlist some of the area’s finest musicians to play it.
And that is just what Main Street Arts will do in a three-part series of concerts beginning Sunday, Apr. 9 at 3 p.m. when Hugh Keelan and Ken Olsson will share the piano bench in four- hand harmony.
They will be followed Sunday, Apr. 23 when Keelan will be joined by Gudrun Weeks on violin, Peggy Spencer, viola, Pedro Pereira, cello, and Doug Cox, bass, for a performance of Schubert’s Trout Quintet.
Last in the series is Sunday, May 21, when Keelan and four-time Grammy winner Eugene Friesen will perform piano and cello magic.
The April 9 concert will feature polonaises by Schumann, pieces by Fauré, Rachmaninoff and Beethoven, a barcarolle by Holloway and the Cuban Overture of George Gershwin.
The Hands On: Celebrating Our Piano series grew out of Jamie Eckley’s donation of the piano to MSA. The instrument had previously been owned by the Chicago Lyric Opera Company and reportedly used by Lola Fletcher, the cousin and teacher of Lily Pons, the French-American operatic soprano and actress, as her lesson instrument. Fletcher was the grandmother of Eckley’s late wife Pam.
The piano is known as a brown mahogany Model M grand and has been tuned and restored to its former glory by William Ballard.
Keelan, music director and conductor of the Windham Orchestra, is a pianist and violinist who served as conductor of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic for fifteen years and music director of the Erie Philharmonic from 2000 to 2006 and has been guest conductor of orchestras around the world.
Olsson was most recently music director of the MSA production of “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” and has directed musical productions at Main Street Arts and throughout the local area, including Opera Theatre of Weston. He is co-founder of Southern Vermont Lyric Theatre.
Tickets for each concert are $15 and can be purchased by contacting MSA at (802) 869-2960 or