A MESSAGE FROM TOM TOWNSEND
Greetings friends and family of Pianos for People
 
As 2019 continues to unfold, I appreciate your support more and more every day. Because I see the tangible results at our schools.
 
Many of your gifts have been in response to my own personal experience with gun violence; you showed up with donations of time, energy and funds that humbled me, an expression of love I could never repay.
 
Meanwhile, I continue to recuperate at home. I have the most difficult surgery behind me now (bone grafting to my jaw), and am at home waiting, with a few IV's, for my body to heal so they can do two or three follow-up procedures. The next will be in April.
 
But of all the insights that I've gained through this experience, one stands out: we are doing the right thing at Pianos for People. We are a powerful, growing force for good in a time and place that desperately needs it. A personal relationship with creating music, introduced early enough, provides the empathy and self-respect that can make gun violence less attractive, if not abhorrent, to young people who know what it's like to be inspired to play, compose or perform music.
 
We know this from sophisticated research, yes, but also from day-to-day personal experience with the scrappy, real, and joyful lives of the families we serve in South City and Ferguson.
 
While I've been at home recuperating, I've been working on a video series that features a visiting musician at my house, playing one song each. The Healing Sessions are done in the name of music as a healing force. I'd love your reactions. One of the guests is our own Demi Moore, ultra-talented student at PFP. The link is below.
 
Thank you for helping us march forward and continue to inspire; for helping us fight the good fight, with music.
 
With gratitude,
 
Tom


PFP student Demi Brown at The Healing Sessions





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KAYIA BAKER IS PROUD TO BE STL MADE
Our very own Piano School Director is featured as one of the change-makers in a new initiative celebrating the strength, resilience and compassion of St. Louis.  


Kayia Baker, Piano School Director at the Launch at Venture Cafe, Cortex

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 MASTER PETER MARTIN and the MASTER MENTOR PROGRAM
Jazz Lessons with Jazz Legends
At the beautiful Compton Heights home of Paul and Patty Midden,  in a room just made for music, Peter Martin played to an intimate and highly-appreciative audience.  The event was to introduce the Master Mentor Program, a collaborative partnership with Peter Martin and the music-education platform Open Studio which will provide our students with access to m entorship, masterclasses and online learning opportunities with world-class musicians.

 
Peter Martin, Co-Founder Open Studio

D an Martin - Co-Founder Open Studio, Sheena Duncan - PFP Executive Director, Pat Eastman-  Co-Founder  and Peter Martin.

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The Master Mentor Program partnership was fostered through our two organizations working in tandem to provide mentorship and support to Royce Martin.  This gracious young man, now thriving at his dream school the Berklee College of Music in Boston, thanks his 'Village' of support in this 
PBS 'Living St. Louis' feature   here.

Royce Martin at the 2018 Evening of 100 Fingers



PIANO PLUS
We are always adding layers to our program, deepening the experiences for our students and families.  As our students become more advanced, they are hungry for enrichment and knowledge in addition to their regular lessons.  'Piano Plus' is a series of monthly workshops led by experts in different genres -- from composition, to pop songs, to ensemble playing -- these workshops also foster friendships and community.  

Award-winning composer, LJ White, DMA from Northwestern and adjunct professor of composition at Washington University, led students in a composition workshop in January.  We are fortunate to have such expertise available to us.  

LJ White works with Nicholas and other students on their compositions

Alisha and Hadassah at the ensemble workshop

Pop-chords and Pizza workshop


A BEAUTIFUL KAWAI PIANO FINDS A NEW HOME
NPR captures the delivery and follows a 'Day in the Life' of PFP. 
Tune in  here.

Our first piano donation of the year went to the Al Chapelle Community Centre of the St. Louis Housing Authority.  This piano will be the cornerstone of a new arts program at the Centre, and PFP plans to provide a teacher one day per week in September - the first in an outside teaching model. Thank you Arts & Education Council for making this introduction.   Piano Donor Michelle Luechtefeld said 
"It is so gratifying to know that our former piano has found a new home where it will be loved and played as it should be!" 

Al Chapelle Community Centre



TEACHERS PLUS
As well as enriching the experiences for our students, we are committed to ongoing professional development for our teachers and staff.  Our team of nine, highly-committed and experienced teachers meet monthly to discuss opportunities, challenges and plan activities.  We also have regular workshops and special guests that ensure that we are equipped to meet the needs of our community.  

Edmund Sprunger, presenter, psychotherapist, Suzuki method expert, and author of Helping Parents Practice, gave an inspirational, thought-provoking and validating workshop.   He said "what you are doing is ground-breaking."  

Edmund Sprunger with some of our teaching staff 


TEACHER IN FOCUS   - TRE'VON GRIFFITH 
Tre'von is a native of St. Louis and is co-founder & producing director of TLT Productions. Tre'von obtained his master's degree in Global Entertainment and Music Business from Berklee College of Music campus in Valencia, Spain. 

In 2017, he released his highly acclaimed EP, "I'm Back" and had the honor of opening for  Grammy Award winning songstresses   Corinne Bailey Rae  &  Andra Day  in St. Louis. He has performed in many productions at the St. Louis Black Rep and tours with the world-renowned Harlem Gospel Choir.

Tre'von has been teaching piano, composition and music production with Pianos for People for three years and is an inspirational mentor for our students. 


SUMMER PIANO CAMP REGISTRATION NOW OPEN
This Program grows in strength and popularity every year.  Evening camps and a second week in Ferguson have been added.   Register Here


2018 Ferguson Campers


THE FREE SUMMER CAMP PROGRAM IS GENEROUSLY SUPPORTED BY



 

Clark-Fox Family Foundation

Emerson Charitable Trust
Ferguson First Baptist Church
Mr Winston Pettus of the Pettus Foundation
Siteman Family Charitable Fund
St. Louis Philanthropic Foundation


VALE TERRY KASPER
It is with great sadness that we report the passing of one of the first to receive a piano from Pianos for People. Terry Kasper was an Air Force veteran who bravely fought his PTSD and depression with classical piano. A brilliant musician, he performed ambitious pieces, and appeared twice on stage at our annual event, "An Evening of 100 Fingers." 

We learn more every day in our own PFP community about how those we serve use the piano as a source of emotional healing. It is our prayer that his piano provided the same for Terry, for whom peace has finally come. Please keep Terry, his wife Habiba,  and children, Joachim and Dorian, in your hearts. 

Art Holliday gives a sensitive postscript on KSDK


Terry Kasper performing at 2016 Evening of 100 Fingers, KDHX


PIANOS FOR PEOPLE
3138 Cherokee Street
St Louis 63118
(314) 285 5852


sheena@pianosforpeople.org