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Changes were afoot on Thursday evening, December 8th. A banquet room at Alioto’s Restaurant was transformed into a “Carnegie Hall”. With fifty-eight members/families and guests attending, we were treated to a special event. With our younger students, we turned “Spouse’s Night” into “Family Night”.
After an excellent dinner, Stephen Swedish, an international concert pianist and Yamaha Artist, was introduced. Playing on a brand new Yamaha grand piano brought in special for the occasion, Mr. Swedish started with a classical piece by Claude Debussy – “Pour le Piano”. The music moved quite rapidly with glissandos and quickly moving passages. Next, he slowed things down with the much beloved “Clair de Lune” (Moonlight)--a familiar piece that captured the audience.
George Gershwin, the 20th century American composer was next – several shorter pieces (“Embraceable You” and “Someone to Watch Over Me”) were followed by the entire piano solo version of “Rhapsody in Blue”. This is an extremely difficult and virtuoso piece--Steve Swedish performed the piece brilliantly. The lyrical section we all know so well brought tears to the eyes of some and led to one of two standing ovations.
With the Christmas season upon us, Mr. Swedish showed us that yes, he can also play Christmas music. At the conclusion of the concert, Abagail Derra, daughter of Ken, presented flowers to the performer and received a kiss in return. All in all, everyone enjoyed themselves with one lucky person at each table receiving the floral arrangement. To remind Mr. Swedish that we’re engineers, we presented a “T” shirt with the patent for the grand piano on the front. Thanks to all on our board who contributed to the planning of this event – and Happy Holidays to all.