HUNTSVILLE – It is time to take musical action.
Brothers Gregory and Alec Gibson say they are excited to host a benefit concert to help fund the maintenance of the Concert Association of Huntsville’s grand piano, which is housed at Trinity United Church.
“The association is very in need of money for the upkeep of the grand piano at Trinity. It was looking for ways to get the money and we were looking for opportunities to get out and perform our first big concert,” said Alec. “We just figured we could help each other out.”
Gregory, a pianist, and Alec, a violinist, have a connection to the association through their father, Michael, who sits on the board. And Gregory has been using the concert association’s piano to practice for years.
“I thought this would be a nice way to say, ‘Thank you,’” said Gregory of the benefit concert.
The concert association considers the Steinway piano a community instrument. The concert association, the Huntsville Festival of the Arts, the church, guest performers, music students and teacher as well as community theatre groups, among others, are able to use the piano for performances, rehearsals, weddings, special events and fundraisers.
But all that use leads to wear and tear.
“It’s played quite a bit,” said Gregory.
“And moved from place to place. All of that is really hard on the grand piano,” said Michael. “And this is a lovely piano. Gregory loves to play it. It’s a tremendous instrument.”
The concert association had maintenance work done to the piano to get it back up to snuff. The work included the replacement of key brushings and key end felt, tuning as well as the installation of a Dampp-Chaser climate control system.
The work cost about $2,000.
“It was surprising how much work it needed, none of which was catastrophic work,” said Michael. “It was just maintenance that was needed.”
The Gibsons said the acoustic piano they have at home is in relatively rough shape, so having the opportunity to use a grand piano of such a high calibre is a delight.
Gregory, 17, sat down at a piano at age five. And Alec, 15, picked up a violin bow at age six. The brothers have since become highly skilled musicians.
The hour and a half benefit concert, which includes an intermission with refreshments, will feature classical, pop, jazz and fiddle music.
Work by Russian composer, pianist and conductor Sergei Rachmaninov will slide into a set list alongside Over the Rainbow and Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, among others.
“And there will be snacks at intermission,” joked Alec.
The brothers’ mother, Nancy, noted that the duo’s creativity and musicianship would engage the audience.
“It’s going to be really fun because of the variety they’re putting into it. And they’re going to be performing at a real level of excellence,” she said.
Gregory noted that the brothers wanted to make the concert as affordable as possible. He said he hopes the $10 ticket price will afford people the opportunity to not only hear an afternoon of music, but to support a charitable cause as well.
“The ticket price is more of a donation. It’s a $10 donation toward a great piano that we happen to be playing,” said Gregory.
“And hopefully they come because they like our music,” said Alec with a smile.
The brothers have a history of performing in the community, whether with the Huntsville Festival of the Arts, community theatre groups or church congregations.
Michael noted that the duo performed as guests with the Almaguin Choral Society for one of its Christmas concerts and had a standing ovation by the end of the second tune.
“They still had two more songs to go,” said Michael with a laugh.
And the brothers continue to challenge themselves. Alec’s violin teacher has introduced him to advanced pieces and Gregory is composing original work. The benefit concert will feature an intricate composition he created in honour of his younger brother, Cameron.
The brothers will play duets as well as solo pieces.
“We figured that, since it is a fundraiser for the piano, we are going to have some work that really showcases the piano,” said Alec. “Gregory has a few fairly flashy solos.”
The Concert Association of Huntsville will present the Gibson brother’s benefit concert at Trinity United Church on Sunday, March 24, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased in advance from the brothers or from Hampton Lane Menswear in the Huntsville Place Mall or 7 Main Café on Main Street. Tickets can also be purchased at the door on the day of the performance.
The concert association’s mandate is to promote excellence in music by presenting stellar musicians in concert while encouraging youth musicianship through education and performance.