The sound of music was alive and well in downtown Kemptville last Sunday, as the Kemptville Street Piano presented a classical duo who performed in front of an intimate crowd at the NG Public Library. Jennifer King, a pianist, singer, and songwriter, performed a few classical pieces that she had worked on, and then loved them enough to mash in her own written work. A piano may have 88 individual keys that hold a note independently, but the beautiful sound that Jennifer’s hands played would capture your soul on the high notes and gently release you back on the low.
The opening performance was Sonetto 104 del Petrarca by Franz Liszt. She had studied it in a music history class in Grade 9 that was taught by her Mom. Jennifer fell in love with it. She said, “I just heard a song at the centre of it, with all kinds of fireworks built in around this central melody”. She asked if she could learn it, but her teacher had not taught Liszt before and felt he was such a showman, and so virtuosic, that the piece wasn’t meant for such a young student. Jennifer persisted, her teacher relented, and she played it at her first professional concert at the Orford Arts Centre when she was 16.
“It’s been part of my repertoire ever since, like an old friend for much of my life”.
Her original work comes from her life experiences, and as she shared a song written by her brother, who had passed away last year, she sang it with great emotion.
For the second half of the 2-hour performance, she was joined by Susanne Doherty ,a dear friend and wonderful mezzosoprano. They began their performance with a fun little song with a story about an oyster. As Susanne sang, she gave a lovely performance that had the audience in smiles and laughter. The weather held off, with just a few rain drops, but the wind carried the music down the river for neighbours to hear the beautiful voices and sound from the Street Piano.
The host, Lisa Poushinsky, thanked the sponsors: the Municipality of North Grenville, RTO9, and the Government of Ontario, which made this initiative possible. If you have not yet had an opportunity to catch these live performances, they are held on the north side of the North Grenville Public Library and accessible for everyone to enjoy every Sunday at 2:00 pm. Seats are limited but you can bring your own.