Community, Entertainment

Piano strikes right chord with concert goers

A top draw in Marlborough’s music calendar began as a way of ensuring a church’s special piano was not neglected.

St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church’s annual concert in Blenheim began 13 years ago after world-renowned concert pianist Marsha Stringer was asked to play.

Church wardens wanted to see more people make use of the space, she was told.

More than a decade later and Marsha and husband are finalising another concert.

The large concert grand Steinway in St. Andrew’s Church came from The Royal Albert Hall in London.

Marsha says it gives her “great joy” to play on the piano for the annual concerts, an event she always looks forward to.

“The acoustics are second to none and I get to work with some brilliant people.

“In 2006 I was told that St. Andrew’s Church would like more use made of their facilities, so would I agree to organise some concerts.

“I went home and roped in my husband, Barry, and we started to think about a concert for 2007.

“Our aim was to bring the best of junior and senior talent together for an annual event to be held on the last Sunday of May, she says.

The popular concerts attract performers from Marlborough, Nelson, Wellington and Dunedin.

Marsha, who has played at top venues across the globe, says all performers are professionals with “enormous experience and talent”.

“We have a wonderful network of performers who have performed in many places in the world.

“It is very fortunate that these performers are happy and willing to come so far to entertain the people of Blenheim”.

The concerts have been held every year except 2015 when serious illness saw it cancelled.

Featuring alongside Marsha will be cellist Lissa Cowie, who also trained at the Royal Academy in London, sopranos Lois Johnston and Olivia Sheat cellist Elgee Leung, mezzo soprano Elin Thomas, a string quartet and Marlborough Girls’ College choir Ovation.

The concert will be held on Sunday 26 May from 2-4pm. Tickets are $10 available at the door.

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