If you were there you already know, but if you missed it, you’ll be happy to know Cara Robbs was victorious over Isaac Hallock and Jimmy Gilliam in Round No. 1 of this year’s Piano Wars which took place at Homan Hall Performing Arts Center in Marquand on June 22.
“This was a neck-to-neck competition for our contestants,” program director and emcee for the event Denny Ward said. “While every contestant typically has a specific genre of music they enjoy playing, these three pianists were diverse to say the least. Isaac’s classical piece had all the execution and skill of a well-trained pianist, it was Jimmy’s spiritual rendition of I’ll Fly Away that made the crowd sit on the edge of their seats, and Cara’s moving tribute to Disney’s Mary Poppins that put her in the lead. It was a memorable evening filled with great entertainment and a delicious meal prepared by Brewen Catering.”
Round two of Piano Wars will be July 20 with Renee Kurtz, Chuck Moore and Jesse Mae Boyd taking the stage to compete for first place and the opportunity to move to the Finale in September.
Ward said Piano Wars has three pianists in each round of the competition and they are given five genres of music in which they must play.
“The pianists can select the piece of music in each genre and do not have to have their music approved prior to performing,” Ward said. “The genres are performed one at a time, so all three competitors will play within that first genre with judging to take place after each performance.”
Ward said judging is the fun part as the panel of professionals are looking for technique, authenticity, stage presence and level of comfortability.
“The professionals weigh in at 40 percent of the overall score,” Ward said. “The other 60 percent comes from the audience itself.”
Ward said performers are encouraged to engage with their audience and are allowed as much liberty as they wish to take by making jokes, changing costumes, providing historical narrative on the selected piece, even lobbying during intermission, but no bribery.
At the end of the evening performers are ranked first, second and third from their averaged scores with the first place finalist going on to compete in the finale Sept. 27.
Reservations can be made by calling 573-783-5438 or 573-783-3282. Programming is supported in part by MACAA and MAC.