General Info > News Releases > Archived Releases 2006-07 > 2006-12-12: 15th Professional Pianist Concert, Jan. 6 & 7

Photo: Three performances by the hottest, musically eclectic keyboard artists will happen on January 5 at Willits High School and Saturday and Sunday, January 6-7 at Mendocino College Center for the Performing Arts (1000 Hensley Creek Road, Ukiah). The concert - an annual sellout - benefits several schools or foundations. Tickets are on sale at Mendocino Book Co., Ukiah Music Center and Leaves of Grass in Willits.


PIANIST CONCERT January 5, 6 and 7

       UKIAH CA. - For 15 years, local keyboard artists have put together sellout concerts benefiting local schools or foundations. In January, there will be three performances in Willits and Ukiah: The first concert is at Willits High School, Friday, Jan. 5, 2007 at 7 p.m. The Ukiah concerts are Saturday, Jan. 6 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 7 at 2 p.m. at the Mendocino College Center Theatre (1000 Hensley Creek Road, Ukiah).     

         Tickets: $10/students and seniors; $15 general and $25 "I ‘Wanna’ See the Hands" limited seating. For more information call (707) 468-8910.

        By popular demand, the concert will feature all the pianists on stage throughout the concert! These popular musicians will be trading stories and songs with two pianos on stage to accommodate impromptu collaborations. This concert is an annual sellout because of the diversity and quality of all involved. The musical selections range from classical to jazz, boogie woogie to Cuban.

        The Willits performance will feature: Spencer Brewer, Elena Casanova, Elizabeth MacDougall, Ed Rinehart and new artists this year David Lisle and Bruce Gordon. It benefits the Willits High School music program under the direction of Dorian May and the Baechtal Grove Music program under the direction of George Huzaruk.

        Sponsors of this concert are: Spare Time Supply, Ukiah Music Center and KWINE 94.5 & KMKX . There will be concessions available.

       Featured artists at the Ukiah concerts are: Spencer Brewer, Elena Casanova, Tom Ganoung, Elizabeth MacDougall, Ed Rinehart and new this year, Tom Aiken. The Ukiah concert benefits the Mendocino Recording Arts Club, Ukiah Educational Foundation and the Allegro Scholarship Program. There will be autographed CD's and cassettes by the artists for sale in lobby. Refreshments will be provided by Ukiah Civic Light Opera.

        Sponsors are : Ukiah Music Center, Savings Bank of Mendocino County, Ukiah Valley Medical Center and KWINE 94.5 & KMKX.0


Tom Aiken has a master's degree with honors in music from CSU Chico.  He studied organ and harpsichord concentrating on music written before 1750, and the works of JS Bach. His graduate work was in baroque performance practices and music theory. While working on his classical studies he became fascinated by improvised music and jazz. Aiken performed extensively in Northern California in cover bands and jazz clubs during college for pleasure, and as a means to fund his education. He toured with a cover band after finishing his graduate work, returning to Chico to complete a teaching credential.  He continues harpsichord studies with Kathy Perl of San Francisco, and plays jazz in a variety of settings. Aiken currently teaches instrumental and vocal music in the Kelseyville Unified School District.

       Elena Casanova began private piano lessons when she was 5 years old. At age 8, due to her outstanding talent, she was selected to study at the Alejandro Garcia Caturla Music Conservatory in Havana, Cuba, where she was born. In the ninth grade her family emigrated to the United States and settled in Angwin, Calif. Concurrent with high school, she studied at the San Francisco Conservatory before attending Pacific Union College and then University of Redlands, from which she received a Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance. In addition to being a soloist Ms. Casanova enjoys performing as an accompanist in master classes, recitals, musical productions and competitions.

        Casanova was the pianist for several Mendocino College productions. She has soloed with the Ukiah Symphony, performing Beethoven Concerto No. 3 in C minor and was the featured guest for the Hot Spanish Nights concert. Most recently she performed with violinist Norbert Banse at the Fort Bragg Center for the Arts in Mendocino and at the Clearlake Performing Arts series.

        In the last six years, Casanova’s interest in the music of Cuban composers Ernesto Lecuona, Ignacio Cervantes and René Touzet has grown and she has played their music at the Annual Professional Pianists Concert in Ukiah, at the Music Etude Club Series in Santa Rosa and a series of fundraisers in the area. She has also finished recording an all classical Cuban music CD.

        Casanova resides in Ukiah, with her husband, Dr. Brian L. Hanson and their two children, Adrian and Briana.

       Native Ukiahan Elizabeth MacDougall has been teaching piano at Mendocino College since 1985. She is a recipient of the Mendocino College President's Award Year 2000 for Excellence in Teaching. MacDougall received her Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from the University of the Pacific in Stockton in 1981 and her Master of Music in Piano Performance and Pedagogy in 1983. MacDougall has studied piano with Siegfried Schultze, Frank Wiens, Harald Logan and currently is coached by John Ringold of Santa Rosa. She recently released her first CD, "New Perspective," which features her exquisitely performed works of Chopin, Beethoven, Debussy, Mozart and Bach.

       Tom Ganoung holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in music composition from Kalamazoo College. He made his recording debut in 1993. His second CD included Marilynn Tollefsen, Michael Coughenour and Spencer Brewer, in a collection of piano solos entitled "Laughter in the River." Ganoung also arranges for churches and records tailor-made versions of both sacred and popular music for individuals, area churches and social organizations. He is one of the founders of the Ukiah School of Music, teaching piano both there and at the Ukiah Junior Academy. In 2000, he established the Allegro Scholarship Program, serving the music instruction needs of qualified, gifted artists in Lake and Mendocino ever since. The quartet has produced a follow-up, all-piano album of original solos - "Redwood Aire," available at Ukiah School of Music, Frank Short’s Music & Recording, Mendocino Book Company and at the two concerts.

       Spencer Brewer, for three decades, has been a composer-pianist-producer with more than 18 solo and duet albums to his credit. Brewer’s music has been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, the Barbara Walters Show, the 1988 thru the 2004 Olympic World games, and virtually every TV and radio station in the world. He wrote the National YMCA theme song, the National Big Brothers/Big Sisters theme song, the theme song for the Japanese Postal Service, scored the award-winning films on racism, "The Color of Fear" and "Last Chance for Eden," contributed music for a feature film with Jason Robards, "Heartwood," and was honored as the National Musical Ambassador for Big Brothers/Big Sisters for five years.

        As a local community promoter, Brewer has helped begin and run many successful local events, such as Sundays in the Park, The Professional Pianists Concert, Live at the Playhouse, Redwood Valley Outdoor Environmental Center, Ukiah Educational Foundation, and many others. He currently owns and runs the Ukiah Music Center and Laughing Coyote Studio, a recording studio and production facility in Redwood Valley.

        Ed Reinhart, alias Earl Dixon, has been "boogying" his way around Mendocino County for over three decades. He has been calling himself "Rico Suave" since his last trip to Ecuador. Reinhart is best known as the king of boogie-woogie and blues and in the presence of Mr. Boogie, no one is left not tapping their feet. With his release in the mid 90's of "Got Some on My Fingers," which featured tunes he crafted, the CD was a regional hit with all of his fans for the music rocked off the CD player and it established him as a musical force locally. He has been the front man for many local boogie/R&B bands including the "Burning Sensations." He performed in two productions with Spencer Brewer in "Please don't Shoot the Piano Player" and "Dueling Pianos," the first production for the Willits Playhouse...all to sold-out performances.

        Over the past three years Reinhart has been living in Italy and touring throughout Europe, always to enthusiastic audiences.

David started playing piano when he was about 5 years old. When the other kids were out playing baseball, he was at the piano.  The same goes for every other sport except jump rope and swimming. Unfortunately (fortunately…) he didn’t learn to read music until he was twenty-one, by which time he had been a church organist since the age of 12, and a volunteer lounge pianist at 16 till college learning 1000’s of fake book tunes.
He spent his years from 21 to 35 in piano bars and restaurants playing popular music for mostly appreciative people.  He performed four nights a week for 5 years at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. After his stint at the hotel he began as a student at the San Francisco Zen Center, where his music was appreciated and encouraged.  When he left there after two years, he had the distinction of being the only pianist to have played in the meditation hall in the thirty-some year history of the organization.
He is a teacher of beginning students and has the great joy of singing and playing piano as a Music Appreciation teacher for people at skilled nursing facilities, assisted living communities, and senior centers. David loves his work, and they love the fact that he knows all their favorite songs, a virtual encyclopedia of musical history.  He has also performed at the Willits United Methodist Church and for several years at Shanachie Pub on Main Street.
Music is his life, and Life is good.

        Bruce Gordon was born in 1961 in Washington, DC. Naturally drawn to the piano and playing by ear, he began picking up on the music he heard growing up in the DC area in the 60's and '70s. Having lost both his grandparents and his only sister in tragic accidents, music took on a more important role in his life. Blues resonated deeply.

        Gordon graduated from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle in 1984. It was at a house party in Seattle that he heard a record by Clifton Chenier, the King of Zydeco, and pursued a passionate interest in the accordion. In 1987 he moved to Berkeley, Calif. and played with several African bands. He was also a sought-after blues piano and Hammond B3 organ player. In his freelance work he had opportunities to work with notable blues men Luther Tucker and Sonny Rhodes.

        Checking out the Zydeco scene in Southwest Louisiana, Gordon spent several months traveling the area, jamming with many Cajun and Creole musicians. In 1990, he started his own band in the Bay Area, the Zydeco Flames, and for the next 14 years his professional life was consumed by the demands of the band's success.

        In 2004, it was time for a fresh and more diverse professional experience. He now plays piano, organ and accordion as featured artist in several popular lineups.

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Created: December 12, 2006 @ 10:32 AM
Last Modified: December 12, 2006 @ 10:32 AM


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