More than 460 pianists of all ages and skill levels will celebrate the silver anniversary of a beloved annual music event during American Grands 25 on Jan. 25, at the Elgin Community College Arts Center.
Performances will be held at 1, 4 and 7 p.m. in the Arts Center’s Blizzard Theatre, located in Building H on ECC’s campus at 1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin.
For the past 25 years, the American Grands concerts have connected hundreds of piano lovers, providing them with a unique opportunity to perform on stage together, a news release stated. A celebration of group piano performance, American Grands features 24 pianists playing on 12 grand pianos (two performers per piano). Performers range in age from early elementary school to adult and hail from over 50 towns. The pianos are provided by event sponsor Cordogan’s Pianoland of Geneva.
“It is thrilling to be celebrating the 25th anniversary of American Grands,” Larry Dieffenbach of Geneva, music director of American Grands, stated in the release. “We started with just one concert performed by about 125 players and have grown to three concerts featuring over 450 local pianists annually.”
This year marks Dieffenbach’s 24th year with American Grands and his 17th as music director. He is on the music faculty at ECC, teaches privately in Geneva and is the organist/music director at the Little Home Church by the Wayside in Wayne. He also is the founder/director of the St. Charles International Piano Competition.
Colin Holman returns as conductor, a role he has held for 24 of the 25 American Grands concerts. He is music director of the Loyola University Orchestra, Fox Valley Concert Band and the international award-winning Chicago Brass Band.
“As part of this year’s celebration, we will be honoring all of our performers throughout the years,” Dieffenbach stated. “We will invite all current and former American Grands players in the theater to stand and be applauded.”
Cordogan’s Pianoland of Geneva has been the event sponsor since American Grands’ inception and has provided the pianos for every American Grands concert. As part of this 25th anniversary celebration, Cordogan’s will host a piano sale in the ECC Arts Center lobby from Jan. 23 to 26.
Tickets to American Grands 25 cost $24 for adults and $15 for children age 12 and younger. They are offered online at tickets.elgin.edu or at the ECC box office in the arts center. Box office hours are noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday. To purchase tickets by phone or for information, call 847-622-0300.