The Lancaster Music Teacher Association and other local chapters of the Pennsylvania Music Teachers Association (PMTA) held multi-piano concerts on a regular basis during the 1980s and '90s, according to Linda Krick, Lancaster Music Teacher Association member. Krick is now serving as co-chair of the upcoming Piano Extravaganza, which will involve more than 160 Lancaster County students and 10 grand pianos.
The Extravaganza will be held at the Good Shepherd Chapel of Lancaster Bible College, 901 Eden Road, Lancaster, on Saturday, June 3, beginning at 7 p.m. The approximately hourlong concert will benefit SWAN: Scaling Walls a Note at a Time, a local organization that provides musical instruction and experiences to children whose parents are incarcerated.
Krick noted that each of the Extravaganza pianos will be manned by two or three students at a time, playing pieces arranged and published specifically for four hands or six hands. Students range in age from 8 to 18. Music that audience members may recognize will include "Sleeping Beauty Waltz," "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey, "Bring Him Home" from "Les Miserables," "Washington Post March," "Over the Rainbow," and "The Stars and Stripes Forever."
Pieces meant to be played with eight hands will be played over two pianos, with one exception. A group of Garden Spot High School (GSHS) students, taught by Janet Fitz and dubbed Fitz's Fabulous Foursome, will use a single piano to play "Galop Marche" by Albert Lavignac, which is written for eight hands. The group includes seniors Sydney Fitzwater and Janae Hershey, junior Aaron Hungerford, and sophomore Jordan Tennis. The foursome originally accomplished this feat at a February 2016 concert held at GSHS. Krick said that she was pleased to be able to schedule the group to perform in the middle of the Extravaganza. "Not every teacher, at one time, has four very talented piano players (from) one high school," she noted.
According to Krick, the music teachers had discontinued the Extravaganzas because of the effort involved in organizing such an event. Recently, however, several members decided to give the format another try. "We all remembered how much it meant to our students," said Krick, who recalled a conversation with a past student about the event. "(One former student) said it was what she remembered most fondly from her years taking piano," relayed Krick.
Tickets for the Extravaganza may be purchased at the door prior to the event or bought in advance at Jacob's Music in Ephrata or Menchey Music in Lancaster or from any Lancaster Music Teacher Association teacher. Readers who would like more information may visit http://www.lancastermusicteachers.org and click on "Student Activities."