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U. piano hopefuls will get breather at faculty concert

SHARE U. piano hopefuls will get breather at faculty concert
Bonnie Gritton

Bonnie Gritton

Scott G. Winterton, Deseret Morning News

Next Saturday is going to be a nerve-racking day for a lot of high school seniors around the state.

Everybody hoping to get a piano scholarship at the University of Utah will be doing their best to convince the faculty — through his or her performance — that he or she is the most deserving.

So it seems fair for the tables to be turned at the end of the day. After being put under the microscope, the auditioners will get to sit in the plush chairs of Libby Gardner Concert Hall while their teachers take a turn being at the center of the spotlight as they perform for the students.

Maybe the best — and most appropriate — part of it is that it's all for a good cause. The proceeds from this fund-raising concert will help provide scholarships for piano students at the U. — both incoming freshmen and continuing students.

And that, too, is fitting, since it is the current U. piano students who are putting on the concert.

Dr. Bonnie Gritton, a member of the piano faculty, teaches a career development course, which gives students hands-on experience in making it in the music world.

"They really get a good idea of what the professional in music has to do in addition to playing an instrument — which is just part of it," she said.

So the students themselves have done the publicity for the concert, the programs, organized the catering for the reception afterward, and they will be manning the halls during the day in order to aid and welcome the incoming freshmen. "We're trying to teach the students what goes on in producing a concert — how much work behind the scenes has to take place. And they're in charge of all the different responsibilities," she said.

It also has the double benefit, she added, of enabling the students to make connections as the more seasoned students mentor the younger ones.

Of course, provided that everything goes smoothly from the organizational end of things, most important for an audience member is the concert itself.

That portion will be provided by the piano faculty.

This year's theme, said Gritton, will be music and humor. "It's a really high-stress period for these students who are trying for a scholarship, so we thought we'd do something lighter and more amusing, kind of have a good time. So everybody has chosen music that is in some way humorous."

She and fellow faculty member Susan Duehlmeier, she said, will attempt Chopin's "Minute Waltz" with a timer, to see if they can actually do it in a minute. They'll also play "Flight of the Bumble Bee" and "Wizard of Oz Fantasy." Other pianists will be collaborating with members of the vocal department with fare such as Rossini's "Cat Duet." "Variations on Yankee Doodle in the Manner of Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Debussy and Gershwin" will also be on the program.

"This is the first time we've tried humor, so we'll see how funny the piano faculty can be," said Gritton.

A reception in the Thompson Chamber Hall will follow, allowing everybody to mingle.

Incoming students, or anyone in the community, for that matter, is welcome. "We can tell them what we do," said Gritton.

If you go ...

What: "Faculty Follies," Piano Faculty Scholarship Recital

Where: Gardner Hall, U. campus

When: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

How much: $3-$7

Phone: 581-7100

Web: www.kingtix.com

E-mail: rcline@desnews.com