Arts | Performing Arts | Music
RESCHEDULED: Ten Grands Celebrates 20 Years of Supporting Music Education
222 SW Clay
Nov. 15, 2020, 5 p.m.
Ten Grands Celebrates 20 Years of Supporting Music Education
The performance is a feat in itself: 10 grand pianos on one stage, showcasing individual performers and masterfully-arranged pieces in styles that range from classical and jazz to New Age and contemporary pop. To date, it remains the only such show of its kind in terms of piano count, but also longevity. What began as a seed of an idea on a napkin 20 years ago between pianist, composer, and co-producer Michael Allen Harrison and co-producer, stage director Greg Tamblyn is now an iconic Portland tradition. And this year promises to be its best yet with some of the Pacific Northwest’s biggest piano icons and freshest talent coming together in one place, including Michael Allen Harrison, Tom Grant, William Chapman Nyaho, Mac Potts, Hailey Potts – with special guests Thomas Lauderdale and Hunter Noack.
On November 15, Ten Grands celebrates its 20th year with a special anniversary show at the Keller Auditorium. Featuring musicians who have played across the globe for audiences, together with those coming onto the scene and also the kind of talent that may just inspire a future pianist.
That inspiration, together with the power of music education, is why Ten Grands exists. Proceeds from the show each year have helped deliver music education to underserved kids and teens in local schools. Since 2000, the Ten Grands concerts have raised $3.5 million in funding and impacted more than 100,000 students.
“This show comes from the heart. As musicians, we all needed an opportunity to become who we are today, whether that was a dedicated teacher, access to instruments, or a mentor who simply believed in you. This is our chance as a music community to create an opportunity for the next generation,” said show co-founder Michael Allen Harrison.
Harrison, who has always taught piano throughout his storied career, knows first-hand how musicians can help inspire and support future musicians. In response to the loss of arts funding in schools, Ten Grands supports music education and music opportunity for elementary through high school students. Through the Snowman Foundation and its growing new program Play It Forward, students are matched with music teachers who provide free weekly lessons, then given gently-used pianos and other instruments to play at home, gifted to them by the community.
“There’s nothing quite as powerful as music. It can alter our mood. It can change a life; it can even unite and transform an entire generation,” explains Harrison. "The Ten Grands show ties those elements together in a way like no other.”
The 20th anniversary show will bring back many popular Ten Grands performers, along with new artists, including:
Vocal legends Julianne Johnson-Weiss, Erin Tamblyn, Haley Johnsen, Molly Parker Jazz legend Tom Grant Ghanaian American pianist William Chapman Nyaho
Contemporary pianist Mac Potts
Young composer Hailey Potts
New Age legend John Nilsen
Violinist Kenji Bunch
Concert pianist and teacher Colleen Adent
Julliard concert pianist Monica Ohuchi
Ten Grands pianist and recent Julliard graduate Rosa Li
Play It Forward concert pianist Dr. Andrea Johnson
Play It Forward prodigy student Brendan Brewer
Violin prodigy C.J. Neary
Creator of Ten Grands, composer, songwriter, pianist Michael Allen Harrison
Special guests Hunter Noack and Thomas Lauderdale will also perform a four-handed version of George Gershwin's Rhapsody In Blue. Noack’s In A Landscape: Classical Music in the Wild concert series has garnered national media attention as he’s brought his 9-foot Steinway grand piano out into nature – sharing concert piano performances amongst the breathtaking natural spaces of Oregon. Lauderdale has performed across the globe as pianist and bandleader of Portland’s own Pink Martini.
As in past years, a special Ten Grands for Kids performance will offer two free shows to area schools, homeschoolers, and community groups at 9:45 and 11:45 a.m. on April 10. This hour-long concert at the Keller Auditorium will showcase ten pianists on ten grand pianos, with both gifted youth musicians and professionals playing together. Each year, nearly 6,000 children from across Portland and southwest Washington attend the event, providing access to high-value music performances and an opportunity to experience one of Portland's premier music venues.
About Michael Allen Harrison’s Ten Grands One stage, one night, ten of the most accomplished pianists in the world performing the music everyone loves — from classical and jazz to New Age and pop contemporary — arranged by renowned composer and musician Michael Allen Harrison. Ten Grands has thrilled audiences in sold-out concert halls for 20 years and was created to support community-based music education. Ten Grands creates opportunities to cultivate the talent of the next generation and deliver the message on how music is one of the most important pieces of a complete education. Awe-inspiring guest performances from young musical prodigies astound and delight throughout this enchanting musical feast that is one of the hottest entertainment tickets in the Northwest. Ten Grands takes place in Portland and Seattle each spring. Ten Grands on the Diamond takes place outdoors each summer at the Ron Tonkin Field, and home of the Hillsboro Hops. For more information, visit www.tengrands.com.
About Play It Forward
Founded by Michael Allen Harrison through his Snowman Foundation, Play It Forward makes music education accessible to children from all backgrounds by providing free one-on-one music lessons and no-strings-attached pianos and instruments for at-home practice. The Play It Forward program provides free lessons, the means for practice, and a year-end recital — all designed to build confidence in children, open up new pathways for learning and create opportunities for artistic expression. Individual lessons offered in schools have a ripple effect throughout the community as children, and their families are gifted the opportunity to explore music, hone new skills, and pursue excellence. Over the last two years, Play It Forward has provided lessons to 130 students, delivered nearly 1,000 hours of music instruction, and gifted instruments to approximately 150 student households. Play It Forward provides instruments valued at $250,000 to families free of charge on an annual basis. For more information, visit www.pifmusic.org.
About Michael Allen Harrison
Michael Allen Harrison delivers music to the heart. His classical contemporary style carves a distinct niche of timeless music that has connected with thousands throughout his three-decade career. Michael is an American composer, songwriter, and pianist from Portland, Oregon. As an iconic artist, he is known for his magical piano solo performances and recordings, his upbeat sound with his band, his work with inspiring vocalist Julianne Johnson, his skills producing and creating music for ballet, theater, and film, his love for teaching and his giving spirit. Michael is the founder and president of the Snowman Foundation and Play It Forward, the Ten Grands concert series, and the beloved Christmas at the Old Church concert series, approaching its 30th season. He has created over 60 albums released through MAH Records. For more information, visit www.michaelallenharrison.com.