When Brenau University music professor and pianist Ben Leaptrott accompanies cellist Charae Krueger and violinist Kenn Wagner at a concert Tuesday night, Feb. 5, another “performer” will debut on the stage at historic Pearce Auditorium: a brand new Steinway & Sons concert grand piano.
The concert, which starts at 7:30 p.m., is free and open to the public.
Brenau leased the piano to kick-start its ongoing fundraising effort to become an “All-Steinway School,” and the Ben Leaptrott Trio will introduce the piano to the audience.
“There’s so much more you can do with this instrument that we couldn’t do with the other piano,” Leaptrott said. “With so many more possibilities, it’s a very exciting time for the music department.”
The trio, formed last year during a faculty concert, also will perform with “guest” artists during the concert. Sopranos Barbara Steinhaus, chair of the Brenau Department of Music, and Jan Grissom, and adjunct professor, will sing arias. The trio also will collaborate with violinist Yang-Yoon Kim and bassist Doug Sommer for the “Trout Quintet,” Quintet in A major, D. 667, by Franz Schubert.
“This is the way four those of us who are teaching to stay current and still active in our performing careers,” said Leaptrott. “It also helps the students see their professors’ actually performing.”
Leaptrott, who often works as an accompanist outside of the university, said the trio has been performing more concerts now that all members are resident artists at Brenau.
“It’s a win-win,” he said. “The university gets more recognition when we play concerts and our trio gains more exposure as well.”
Leaptrott said that the university’s decision to become an All-Steinway school has helped attract both high-quality faculty as well as students. Brenau plans to acquire about 30 Steinway-branded instruments in the $1.5 million campaign.
After the concert the trio will invite people to the stage to ask any questions about the new piano or the campaign.
The concert grand, which arrived on campus at the end of 2012, represents about 10 percent of the total cost of the campaign to acquire. Technically on lease until money can be raised to finish paying for it, the grand piano has been dedicated to and named for Wayne Dempsey, who retired for health reasons at the end of last year as the university’s executive vice president and chief financial officer. Dempsey, an amateur musician and music aficionado who, among other things, plays horns in church orchestra, and was an early enthusiast and supported for the All-Steinway initiative.
Brenau announced more than a year ago that it had embarked on a plan to raise $1.5 million to replace worn-out, unserviceable pianos on campus with about 30 Steinway-branded pianos.
The 1878 Council, Brenau’s advisory board, and Alpha Chi Omega sorority have thus far spearheaded the fundraising effort for the Pearce piano.
For more information about the performance, call 770-538-4764 or visit brenau.edu/music.
To contribute to the Dempsey Steinway and the All-Steinway project go to http://www.brenau.edu/giving/donate/ and make your donation to the All-Steinway project. Or for more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 770-718-5309.