| Oct 12, 2006


Feature Article - October 12, 2006

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Feature Article - October 12, 2006

Piano recital puts Arden on the musical map

by Jeff Green

Ever since the Arden Glee Club was established, the village has been known as a haven for musical people with community spirit. Last Saturday night, thanks to the efforts of Larry Lightstone and a steering committee of volunteers, Arden became a venue for fine piano music.

The first annual Arden piano recital played to a sellout audience, and featured Ardoch-based Shari Tallon playing contemporary classical music of her own composition; McDonalds Corners’ Les Russet, who performed his own ragtime-influenced jazz; and two young piano phenoms from Eganville, Lucas and Keegan Lazarus, performing a classical repertoire.

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Thirteen-year-old Lucas Lazarus started off the evening with Chopin’s Nocturne, and immediately the pleasures of a piano recital were apparent. Lucas Lazarus played with a soft touch, effortlessly working through Bach and Chopin works. His second piece, the first movement of Beethoven’s Sonata in G major, was perhaps his best, and it was one of the highlights of the evening.

Lucas will not be attending high school for another two years, and has only been playing piano for three years, so he would have to be considered something of a prodigy.

Les Russet was up next. Les studied jazz in Vancouver , and has been instrumental in establishing the ongoing CafMerea events in McDonalds Corners in the past couple of years. He was accompanied by bass player Ed Ashton, playing mostly recent tunes with titles like Jump Jive, Elphin Sunrise, and Coffeehouse Rag. Les’ sprightly jazz playing came as an effective counterpoint to Lucas Lazarus’ performance.

Because of the careful layout of the seating in Kennebec Hall, everyone in the audience could see the hammers of the upright piano hit the strings, providing a visual demonstration of the players’ abilities. In the Les Russet performance, it also created the atmosphere of a honky tonk, which fit in particularly well with the flavour of his music.

After the first two performances there was an intermission, and the audience was buzzing about the quality of what they had just seen.

The second half of the concert was equally entertaining.

Shari Tallon is a recording artist and educator who is well known regionally for her children’s shows, and this evening provided an opportunity for her to showcase not only her abilities as a pianist, but her skill as a composer as well. In pieces such as Rain Dance, Autumn, and Morning Mist, the notes coming from the piano evoked vivid images of the times and places she was portraying.

She was accompanied by her husband Jerry Tallon on a number of instruments, including flute, drums, cymbals, and guitar. For the most part, Jerry Tallon’s additions provided an added richness to the sound, particularly some subtle harmonica playing on one song. There were a couple of occasions however, when I personally would have preferred to hear the piano on its own.

Overall, it was great to hear Shari Tallon in this new way.

Keegan Lazarus was the final performer. A 17-year-old pianist who attends high school in Pembroke, Keegan’s hands flew over the keys as he played works by Bach, Chopin, Debussy, and others. His playing was very dynamic and more flamboyant than his brother’s, but he was still able to capture the subtlety in the music.

Keegan’s second, and lengthiest piece was the first movement of the Haydn Sonata in D major piece and even though this was almost two hours into the concert, there was not a sound coming from the audience, so completely had Keegan Lazarus, and the other performers, enchanted the audience. It was a great night in Arden .

Larry Lightstone is hoping to put on a weekend of performances in Arden next summer, and perhaps in other locations as well.

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