Over 460 pianists of all ages and skill levels will celebrate the silver anniversary of a beloved annual music event during American Grands 25 on Saturday, 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 Spartan Drive Campus, 1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin.
For the past 25 years, the American Grands concerts have connected hundreds of Chicagoland piano lovers, providing them a unique opportunity to perform on stage together. A celebration of group piano performance, American Grands features 24 pianists playing on 12 beautiful grand pianos (two performers per piano). Performers range in age from early elementary school to adult and hail from over 50 different hometowns. The pianos are provided by event sponsor Cordogan’s Pianoland.
“It is thrilling to be celebrating the 25th anniversary of American Grands,” says Larry Dieffenbach, music director of American Grands. “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 17th as its 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 maintains an active career as a conductor and musicologist in the Chicago area as the music director of the Loyola University Orchestra, Fox Valley Concert Band, and the international award-winning Chicago Brass Band.
Dieffenbach adds, “As part of this year’s celebration, we will be honoring all of our performers throughout the years. There will be a section of the performance where we will invite all current and former American Grands players in the theatre 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 be hosting a piano sale in the ECC Arts Center lobby Jan. 23-26.
Tickets to American Grands 25 are $24 for adults and $15 for children age 12 and under. Tickets for all performances are available online at tickets.elgin.edu or the ECC box office located in the arts center. Box office hours are noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday. To purchase tickets by phone or for more information, contact the box office 847-622-0300.