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Peter Simon to close concert series

May 2, 2014
Bryce Berginski - Tribune Reporter , Pierce County Tribune

A familiar face will take the stage again at the Tilman Hovland Auditorium on Sunday.

Pianist and entertainer Peter Simon will play at 4 p.m., closing out the 2013-2014 Heart of America concert series performances in Rugby. Last year, he played to a packed house. According to Tilman Hovland, concert association committee president, Simon was held in such high esteem the audience demanded three encore performances.

"He's very, very good," Hovland said.

Article Photos

Two of Glenda Mack's piano students, freshman Lucas Antonson and fifth-grader Leona Petrovic, will join Simon onstage Sunday

With an expansive repertoire ranging from Bach to the Beatles and jazz to Liberace - wrapped up in a Victor Borge sense of humor - Simon's performance this year will be a contrast to last year's.

"I will be playing music that shows off the wonderful capacities of the instrument," Simon said.

Simon will play on a piano new to the concert series. He found the piano, a seven-foot Baldwin grand, and requested it be moved to Rugby.

As a "Johnny Appleseed" of pianos, Simon has found pianos for not just Rugby, but for other communities in the past.

"One of my great pleasures in life is to find pianos for communities, and to increase the quality of life in those communities," Simon said. He also said that even though appreciation takes time, music, especially classical music, is for people of all ages.

Simon toured for 30 years. He has played on cruise ships, and in schools, parades, fundraisers and concert halls. He has played venues in Europe and Asia, and has played in big name U.S. venues like the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall. Recently, he completed a three-month tour in Florida.

Simon said the audience is what keeps him going when on tour.

"I realize the positive effect I have on people," Simon said. "I walk out [onstage] with a smile on my face and play to the best of my abilities."

Simon also performs in an act with his son, Saling, called "Simon & Son", which performed in Rugby in the past. His son will not be joining him Sunday. When asked whether Simon & Son could possibly return in the future, Simon replied, "I hope so."



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