Once upon a piano recital

Lizabeth playing piano during a recital at the ASU Kerr Cultural Center in Scottsdale

For many years, our annual holiday traditions included a lovely afternoon at the ASU Kerr Cultural Center in Scottsdale. That’s where my children’s piano teacher, Judy, holds her student recitals each year.

The venue is intimate, beautiful and especially charming when decked in small twinkling white lights and other Christmas holiday fare.

Teacher Judy always adds her own special flair — giant gingerbread man cookies, bulbs elegantly wrapped for children who take them home and enjoy watching the delicate white flowers bloom.

Those afternoons of music and solace have been a real gift through the years, so I’m eager for other families to discover this venue that’s a bit off the beaten path.

A copy of the “Kerr Review” landed in my mailbox the other day — and I took special note of upcoming performances featuring student musicians, who model so beautifully both creativity and discipline.

Young Sounds of Arizona will perform at the ASU Kerr Cultural Center on Thurs, Nov 18 and Sun, Feb 27. Young Sounds “is comprised of 40 students ranging in ages from 14 to 19 from more than 20 schools in the greater Phoenix area.”

Those of you who’ve grumbled even once at the so-called state of America’s youth need to turn out to support these young and talented musicians. They work hard and they work together. And I admire them for it.

The ASU School of Music Latin Jazz Band performs at the ASU Kerr Cultural Center on Mon, Nov 22 at 7:30pm. You won’t find better music for a better value — with tickets ranging from just $5 to $8.

You’ll appreciate the musical respite during a week meant for giving thanks that turns all too often into a bit of a frenzy factory.

Kerr Center offerings are plentiful and diverse. Their fall calendar includes a one woman play about a legendary Hollywood costume designer, a Tuesday morning music and tea series, an evening with acoustic guitarist Leo Kotke and much more.

Lovers of the green can enjoy “An Irish Christmas” on Fri, Dec 10 — which features “glorious music, traditional dance, storytelling, laughter and plenty of Irish soul” with some impressive Irish performing artists.

New additions to the season line-up include a Dec 12 performance of Broadway, folk, pop, jazz, gospel, patriotic and sacred music by the Tempe Community Chorus — plus a Feb 19, 2011 “Reduced History of Classical Music” that covers “900 years of music in 90 minutes.”

Learn more about performing arts offerings, as well as visual arts exhibits, at the Kerr Center by signing up at www.asukerr.com to receive their e-mails.

I’m grateful to Judy for introducing us to the ASU Kerr Cultural Center, one of the Valley’s many hidden performing arts treasures — and for so much more.

— Lynn

Note: Art exhibitions at Kerr feature Piedad (Pia) Rodriguez (Oct), Diana Campanella (Nov/Dec) and Jeff  Jones (March 2011).

Coming up: More ‘off the beaten path’ art venues, Lynn & Jenn — Still Playing for Change