Kretzer Piano Music Foundation Presented Lynn University Conservatory of Music in Concert
By Veronica Haggar
On Sept. 15, student musicians from the Woodwind Department of Lynn University Conservatory of Music performed beautiful works by well known composers, such as Charles Gounod, Villa Lobos, and Mozart, at The Harriet Himmel Theater in CityPlace for this month’s Music for the Mind concert, presented by the Kretzer Piano Music Foundation.
The Kretzer Piano Music Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to bring joy to the community and change the lives of others with the gift of music. On the 3rd Tuesday of every month, the Kretzer Foundation presents the Music for the Mind concert series, dedicated to raise funds for music programs in local schools.
“Since the year 2002, we’ve had over 2,300 young performers at the theater,” said Kathi Kretzer, owner and founder of Kretzer Piano Music Foundation. “We have generated a revenue of $548,000 and the performing organization keeps 100% of the money they raise.”
Lynn University has been participating in the Music for the Mind series for 4 years now.
“Every year they feature something different,” said Kretzer. “They would have the Strings Department, one year ago they had all the piano students so they vary every year.”
Eric Van der Veer Varner, professor and head of the Woodwind studio at the Lynn University Conservatory of Music, selected the repertoire based on the instrumentation and number of students, getting almost the whole department to participate.
“I knew that I would be able to work with clarinet, oboes, flute and bassoon, and I was pretty sure I could get horn players as well,” said Eric Varner. “I was looking at the repertoire for those instrumentations thinking, what would be a good piece where as many students as possible could participate?”
The logistics of getting too many students on the scene to perform all at once, might have been problematic. The initial idea was to have a smaller ensemble. After a lot of thinking Varner came up with Gounod and Mozart as the solution, having a lot students fairly concentrated and a massive amount for the big finale.
The Woodwind Department opened with the piece from Charles Gounod.
“It is very pleasant to listen to, I think it’s a lot of fun,” said Varner about Gounod’s work. “It’s very French. When we were rehearsing this, I was talking to the students and one of my pet theories is that French music is, much like French culture, defined by what it is rather than what it does,” explained Varner.
The next piece was from Villa Lobos, a bassoon and flute duet performed by 2 graduate students.
“Not only was it different in terms of the number of people up there performing but musically speaking it was very different,” said Varner. “It was rhythmically driven and there was a lot of dissidence and I felt like it was almost a pallet cleanser after the Gounod before the Mozart.”
Even though the student musicians had only 2 short weeks to prepare for the concert, the did a outstanding job and put up an incredible performance.
Next month’s Music for the Mind will bring Jupiter Academy Music.
Besides the Music for the Mind concerts, the Kretzer Music Foundation has also it’s very own group of young musicians, the Kretzer Kids. These talented music students entertain the community by playing at nursing homes, children’s hospitals, and assisted living facilities.
Some of the Kretzer Kids have proved their great talent, by making it all the way to Broadway and graduating from Juilliard.
“One of our singers was in Broadway in Annie for 8 months,” said Kretzer about one of the Kretzer Kids.
The program gives the children the opportunity to perform in great venues and have the support from their community.
“Music can change your life, whether it is a child or a senior citizen sitting in a wheelchair with some kind of stroke,” said Kretzer about the power of music.