Student-led initiative to help school replace aging and failing pianos

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The renowned pianist Tom Grant will showcase his many talents during a free community concert to support the Cleveland High School's "Key Change Project," where 100% of the donations collected will fund new pianos for the school in Portland.

Cleveland High School 3400 SE 26th Street Portland, OR 97202 – January 16th, 2020 7:00 pm

The "Key Change" Project is a student-initiated effort led by Cleveland High School student, Nora Burkartsmeier. As an accomplished pianist and a member of the Cleveland High School Choir Program, Nora, graduate of 2019, made the decision to spearhead efforts to replace the aging and failing pianos that live in the music department practice rooms and classrooms at Cleveland High School. She worked hard to assess needs and establish goals with the help of Kathy Walke from Classic Pianos in the 2018/2019 school year, determining that only two of the school's 13 pianos were worth restoring. Most of the existing pianos are over 70 years old, broken, and beyond repair. Students use these pianos every day to practice, but find that they can't play full scales because of broken keys, missing or broken pedals and tuning issues that aren't able to be fixed. Nora has since gone off to college on scholarship at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston but is spending her winter break at Cleveland High School in a continuing effort to fund Key Change Project. Nora and the music department believe that investing in quality instruments that function properly provides CHS musicians with the best opportunity to reach their full potential and shows them that they are valued in our school community. 

Before Mr. Grants' 45-minute set, four students, including Ms. Burkhartsmeier, will be featured in 5-minute-long performances. These first performances will be broken up by speaking sections in which students will be able to talk about the inspiration for the project and the positive effects of purchasing and refurbishing the pianos last spring/summer. We'll finish the concert with some closing remarks after Tom's set and show the audience where/how to donate. 

About Tom Grant:

TOM GRANT, master instrumentalist, talented singer, and natural entertainer nimbly walks the line between jazz tradition and modern pop. This soft-spoken Oregon native's inspired songwriting produces propulsive R&B grooves, infectious melodic hooks, and stylish ballads with equal ease. He plays jazz piano with the harmonic sophistication and deep sense of swing that only comes from more than four decades on the bandstand. As one of the Pacific Northwest's most renowned musical artists, Tom Grant's career achievements reflect his unique ability to embrace the full spectrum of contemporary music.

Born to show business parents, Tom was at home with many musical instruments but always returned to the piano. At a tender age, he was taught to play piano and drums by his vaudevillian/tap dancer father. Later, he learned about music styles listening to music at his father's record store in Portland, Oregon. His brother, himself an accomplished jazz pianist, introduced him to the many different facets of the jazz life.

After graduating from the University of Oregon and a short stint as a high school teacher, Tom answered his musical calling. Native American saxophonist Jim Pepper took Tom to New York in 1970 to do a recording project that included the chant classic Witchi Tai-to. That album (Pepper's Pow-Wow, Embryo Records) featured Tom with jazz stars such as Bill Cobham (drums) and Larry Coryell (guitar).

During the '70s, Tom played with jazz luminaries like trumpeter Woody Shaw, saxophonists Joe Henderson and Charles Lloyd. His most life-changing gig was with drummer Tony Williams who himself transformed the 1960's Miles Davis Band, both musically and commercially into a worldwide jazz phenomenon. With Tony and bassist Patrick O'Hearn, Tom recorded and toured worldwide from 1978-1980.

In the 80's and 90's, Tom was considered by many to be the father of the Smooth Jazz sound, recording albums on major labels including Verve, Shanachie, and Windham Hill. Several of these shot to number one on the Smooth Jazz charts.

Tom has appeared on the Jay Leno show and was featured in many of the national music mags as well as in a CNN news spot. He's also enjoyed large followings in Indonesia and Japan.

"It is his touch that gives depth and clarity to rich tonal colors; his touch that draws from the piano an individual voice.

– Lynn Darroch, KMHD Radio

"Tom's sound has an elegance and clarity that is the hallmark of his playing."  

– Jeff Lorber, Grammy winner, Jazz Artist

In his hometown of Portland, Tom works tirelessly for a number of charities. Over the past thirty years, his music has been a staple of homegrown giving for several non-profits. He was one of the original pianists of the Ten Grands concerts in Portland and Seattle, an annual event supporting music education. Tom also organizes an annual concert for a non-profit that feeds disadvantaged people.

Grant writes and records new music on his own label, Nu-Wrinkle Records. His songs can be heard on popular TV series, both network, and cable, and is still releasing new music on his own label called Nu-Wrinkle Records.

Tom Grant is proud to be a YAMAHA Artist.

Media Contacts:

person_outline  Full Name:Nora Burkhartsmeier
phone  Phone Number:971.303.3748
business_center  Company:CLeveland High School
language  Website:clevelandhschoirs.weebly.com/key-change-project.html
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