Piano Students Shine at SUU Music Department’s Piano Extravaganza

Southern Utah University piano students took the stage at the Piano Extravaganza at the Heritage Center Theater on Tuesday. They performed solo piano pieces ranging from classical to modern.

“I don’t know how they move their fingers that fast,” said concert attendee Kelsie Stonely about some of the faster pieces showcased at the concert, such as the first movement of Beethoven’s Sonata in E-flat Major Op. 31 No. 3.

Stonely’s favorite piece was a “Pirates of the Caribbean” medley played by music education major Kennedi Ludvigson.

Ludvigson said she went to a college performance when she was young and wanted to be able to play like the girl she watched perform.

“Hopefully, by attending the Piano Extravaganza, young musicians will be inspired and motivated to continue practicing,” said Ludvigson.

The concert abided by COVID-19 guidelines, requiring both performers and audience members to wear masks.

Associate Professor of Piano Christian Bohnenstengel sanitized the piano keys after each performer, using the wipe to play what he called the “coronavirus etude.” The audience gave Bohnenstengel applause for his added turns and different variations in wiping down the keys.

“Usually, today we would have had the Monster Concert,” said Bohnenstengel at the opening of the concert.

The annual Monster Concert was unable to take place this year due to COVID-19 and the close proximity of the performers. The show usually has a stage full of pianos and up to 150 students and teachers playing together instead of performing solo pieces.

Even without the Monster Concert, Bohnenstengel said it is a pleasure for the students to perform at the Heritage Center Theater and to have the opportunity to play solo piano music.

For those who missed the event or for those who would like to watch their favorite pieces again, videos from the extravaganza will be posted on the SUU music department’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.

Story by: Tori Jensen