Four local musicians will be taking the stage at the First United Methodist Church Sanctuary to share a unique musical experience.
On Saturday at 7 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church in Hickory , four professional concert pianists , including Sylvanna Fraga, of Valdese, Greg Knight , of Morganton, Renee Shatley, of Connelly Springs and Rhonda Smith, of Hudson , will be performing a free show called “The 4 Pianos N Sync Concert.” The church is located at 311 Third Ave . NE in Hickory.
“Eight hands and four grand pianos … a musical experience that should not be missed,” said the event’s Facebook page. Admission is free, although donations are being accepted to defray costs of moving pianos.
“Doug Brady of Brady’s Pianos, a friend and sponsor, recollects that it has been approximately 36 years since a multi-piano concert was held in Hickory.
The performance will include works by Leroy Anderson, Johannes Brahms, Mannheim Steamroller’s Chip Davis, Joel Raney, Gioachino Rosinni and the duo of Neilson and Young.
» Sylvanna Fraga – At international level of critics and audiences, Fraga, who was born in Argentina, has been acknowledged for her strong and bright temperament along with her interpretive quality of performance combined with an admirable sensitivity, elegant grace and virtuoso technique. Her appearances have taken her to Europe, South America, Central America and North America.
She has studied with Martha Pisano, who studied with Alberto Williams, Argentinian pianist and composer, who studied with an Argentinian pianist and composer named Alberto Williams, who was a disciple of George Mathias, who studied with the great Frederick Chopin.
She has performed as a soloist, interpreting Schumann Piano Concerto with the Orchestra of the Foothills, “The Emperor , ” Beethoven No. 5 at UCLA, and her romantic repertoire in Madrid, Salamanca, Segovia, Jerez de la Frontera (Spain), Rome, Sicily (Italy), Buenos Aires and Entre Rios (Argentina), Rio de Janeiro, Sao Pablo, Curitiba (Brazil), Uruguay, Paraguay, Mexico DF, California, Las Vegas, Tennessee, Texas and Florida. She has also performed at the Commander’s Holiday Reception for United States Central Command and the 6th Air Mobility Wing, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, playing for the General of the U . S . Army, Lloyd J. Austin III.
» Rhonda Smith - Smith began the study of piano at age 5 and never stopped. She has performed as a soloist and accompanist in venues from gospel to Big Band, from r ock to j azz, and from s acred to c lassical. She has studied Jazz, classical piano and classical organ. She is a Certified Music Teacher with the American College of Musicians, a member of the American Guild of Organists, The Choristers Guild, The Fellowship of United Methodist Musicians, as well as Handbells Musicians of America. Smith holds degrees from Hobe Sound Bible College, Bob Jones University, University o f NC Greensboro, Appalachian State University and Asbury Seminary.
» Gregory Knight - Knight started playing the piano when he was 4 . At 11 , he began studying at Lenoir-Rhyne College under Dr. Thelma Rast, with whom he continued until his graduation in 1983 with a Bachelor of Arts in piano performance. While in college, Knight was a recipient of the Hickory Music Club Award, as well as the winner of an eight-state concerto competition.
He was selected as a finalist in the 2016 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs, where he was also awarded the Creative Programming Award. Also in 2016, the city of Lenoir, North Carolina, presented Knight with a Pinnacle Award for lifetime achievement in music.
» Renee Shatley – Shatley is the Chancel Choir Director at First United Methodist Church in Hickory and is an adjunct faculty member at Lenoir - Rhyne University. Following 28 years of teaching high school choral music, she retired from Burke County Public Schools in June of 2017 from Jimmy C. Draughn High School.
Shatley’s love of music started at an early age. She has fond memories of singing with her grandfather at his home. She started piano lessons at the age of 5 and actively sang and played the piano at church on a regular basis throughout her youth. She accompanied her middle school and high school choral ensembles as a student. Shatley received her education in voice and choral music from Mars Hill University. She studied with Mrs. Dorothy Roberts, Dr. William Thomas and Dr. Joel Reed. As a college student, she accompanied music students in voice and instrumental recitals.
For more information, visit the event Facebook page called “4 Pianos N Sync.”