Key witnesses 
by Marcianne Miller 
02/27/2002, Mountain Express

"Stop that stuttering, Missy Miller!" I can hear my piano teacher's voice as clearly now as when I sat scrunched up next to her on the piano bench in first grade. "Sit up straight, curve those fingers, and feelthe music!"

It was Sister Mary Luke's undoubted direct connection to the divine that cured me of stuttering. More miraculous was her ability to instill in my little heathen heart a lifelong love of music.

Not singing in the choir, not working magic on the composing computer, not even playing duets with flirty partners can duplicate the intensity that exists in the close relationship children have with their private music teachers.

For teenagers especially, music teachers can play a crucial role. "Adolescents are breaking away from the family but still feel the need for guidance, " says Virginia Ramig, who ought to know -- she's been teaching piano for more than 50 years. Music teachers become, in essence, role models "for wanting to do well at what you do, " she says.

The members of the Asheville Piano Teachers Forum are dedicated to improving their skills as teachers and helping connect like-minded colleagues and students in Western North Carolina. An upcoming concert will feature 10 to 12 members of the group strutting their stuff on the ivories.

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Eighty-eight keys, many hands
Asheville Area Piano Forum holds its 10th Anniversary Fall Benefit concert
by Jaye Bartell in Vol. 17 / Iss. 09 on 09/21/2010, Mountain Express

This year marks a number of milestones for several Asheville music institutions. The Asheville Symphony Orchestra began its 50th season last week, and this week, the Asheville Area Piano Forum performs its 10th Fall Benefit concert at the Diana Wortham Theater. The latter celebrates the performance of music, while benefiting further generations of musicians.

In some ways, the audience benefits the most.

The first piece on the program, Bach's Fugue in G Minor, arranged for two pianos and four hands, is reason enough to attend. From there, other classical piano works by Chopin, Liszt and Shubert (just two hands for these) braid with jazz numbers by Fazil Say and Dizzy Gillespie (four hands resume!).

As one might expect, most of the music is for the piano; professional jazz and classical pianists in the AAPF's ranks will perform most of the pieces. AAPF member John Cobb plays one of the two Liszt works on the bill, Legendes No. 2 (St. Francis Walking on the Waves). Founding members (and current board members) Judith Rodwell and Polly Feitzinger contribute four of the eight hands to the Bach fugue.

Many of the other performers have appeared as soloists with the Asheville Symphony and Blue Ridge Orchestra and other orchestras, Feitzinger says.

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Asheville Area Piano Forum's 10th Anniversary Fall Benefit Concert
by Polly Feitzinger
Rapid River Magazine, September 2010, Vol 14, No 1

Asheville has become known throughout the country as a “Top Arts Destination.” It also has become the city many professionally trained pianists have made their home. For ten years the Asheville Area Piano Forum has provided the public a glimpse of the amazing talents within the Forum membership by putting on two benefit concerts each year as fundraisers for student assistance awards.

This year’s program will include 20 classical and jazz musicians performing solo and two-piano works, as well as the student winner of the advanced category of the Forum-sponsored Asheville Piano Competition for pre-college students.

The Asheville Area Piano Forum, with more than 80 members, includes both amateur and professionally-trained pianists. Since becoming a 501(C)3 not-for-profit organization, a number of members have joined who are not pianists but who wish to promote the charitable activities of the Forum.

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