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Asheville Area Piano Forum’s annual spring benefit concert, April 6

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Press release from the Asheville Area Piano Forum:

The Asheville Area Piano Forum (AAPF) will present its 13th Annual Spring Benefit Concert at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Asheville, on Sunday, April 8th at 3:00 PM. The program will feature solo piano works by Beethoven, Chopin, Albeniz, Schubert, and Liszt performed by 6 of the areas leading pianists: Deborah Belcher, Kimberly Cann, John Cobb, Leslie Downs, and Grace Lee.

The AAPF is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational and charitable opportunities for WNC piano teachers, their students, and their communities. It is well known throughout NC that Asheville has a thriving pianistic community filled with students who continuously take the top awards in state and regional competitions.

“For over 20 years, we have been dedicated to providing top notch education and support within the AAPF,” says Kimberly Cann, President. “ Many of our professional members are award-winning concert pianists who perform worldwide. Although these pianists and our other members have demanding schedules, they generously donate their time and talents in benefit concerts for the Asheville community to support this great cause. “We have no endowment, and yet, in the past ten years alone, we have provided over $70,000 in financial assistance to deserving students in need. In these economically difficult times, the amount of assistance requested in the past few years has doubled; every penny we raise truly counts and goes directly into our scholarship programs.”

To date, the AAPF’s biggest community outreach program is Keys for Kidz, a group-piano class specifically for under-served children who otherwise couldn’t afford to take even one music lesson, let alone discover any talent they might have or love of music. Founded and directed by current president, Kimberly Cann, it is inspired in part by El Sistema, the Venezuelan model which provides a network or “system” of youth orchestras, choirs, and other ensembles whose primary purpose is to lift up and encourage youth within a caring artistic community.

The program was initially funded in August of 2011 by a generous donation from the Mission Healthcare Foundation and with instruments from Piano Emporium. The AAPF continues to seek donations and grant funds to expand this program throughout Asheville. “Additionally, Keys for Kidz has served as conduit for donations of pianos; in recent years, we’ve received 10 pianos and keyboards for students, and more are coming in,” says Cann.

The Asheville Area Piano Forum is made up of about 100 members. Funding is provided by membership dues and through individual charitable contributions. Its sponsored educational and community outreach activities are open to the public and include 5 annual lecture/presentations with guest artists, student recitals and professional performances, master classes, informal performance groups in relaxed settings, and teacher “roundtable discussions,” where WNC teachers can exchange resources and information on how best to enhance their students’ experiences. Opportunities also abound for amateur adult musicians of all ages and levels.

For more information about joining AAPF or participating in its activities, visit the AAPF website ashevillepiano.org, or contact them at office@ashevillepiano.org. Donations may be sent to the Asheville Area Piano Forum, c/o Anne Parker, 22 Colonial Place, Asheville, NC 28804.

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