‘A different level of concentration’

Emma Wookey, right, and her mother, Tuesday, practice John Phillip Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever” on the piano Wednesday afternoon in a home on 15th Street. SHANNON BRODERICK/Boomerang photographer


A collaborative concert featuring about 80 local musicians of all ages and experience levels is set for Saturday afternoon in Laramie.

Playing for Pianos, organized by Laramie Music Teachers Association, features five one-hour sessions at 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday at Snowy Range Evangelical Free Church, 2552 N. 15th St.

Admission is free, but donations will be accepted. Proceeds will be used to replace the piano at Spring Wind Assisted Living. Many local pianists play for residents at the facility, where the current instrument needs to be repaired or replaced, said Cheryl Hemphill, a local piano teacher.

“None of the piano teachers in town relish the idea of playing with the present piano at Spring Wind,” she said. “That’s where we got the idea.”

Cooper Kaligis, 12, will be part of several songs during the concert, including one with his sister, Harlie, 14. He said playing the piano offers a sense of freedom when he masters a piece he especially enjoys.

“It’s just there for you any time you want it,” he said. “It just captures you and takes you in.”

Harlie said music is a way to connect with other people and connect with herself.

“For me, music is something I can do in any mood, at any time,” she said.

“It’s not something that’s exclusive — it’s inclusive.”

All the pieces in the concert will feature more than one musician, which presents its own challenge, especially when two musicians are sharing a single instrument.

“Playing with somebody else definitely takes a different level of concentration than playing by yourself,” Harlie said. “Not only do you have to know your part, you also have to know the other person’s part.”

Tuesday Wookey, who will be playing a duet with her daughter, Emma, said she enjoys the sound of two people on the piano.

“When you play with two people together, it sounds so full,” she said.

The Laramie Music Teachers Association is open to all music teachers in Laramie and is part of the Wyoming Music Teachers Association. The group organizes regular concerts and provides professional development.

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