By Allison Rahn
After what seems like an ever-lasting hiatus due to the pandemic, Grand Rapids Community College is welcoming back live music with open arms. GRCC’s music department is hosting a piano recital Friday, Sept. 24 to celebrate the return of in-person performances.
Mark Valenti, a professor and pianist from Philadelphia Music Academy (PMA), will be the guest of honor at the event, bringing forth his musical abilities and performance expertise. Valenti will be performing a wide variety of pieces from composers, such as Beethoven and Bartóok. For the finale, he will be playing a piece in three parts, by French composer Claude Debussy titled “Three Etudes.” Of all the pieces he will be performing, Valenti expressed his particular interest in Debussy because he feels he has a certain level of connection to the way it is.
“I connect with anything Debussy writes probably because of his harmonic sense,” Velanti said.
After being dormant for so long, artists were able to fully utilize the time given them to relentlessly practice and prepare their work to be ready for the time they would perform once again, and that is exactly what Valenti has done.Through the duration of lockdown, he kept himself up to date with his performance abilities and further broadened his skills to be able to walk up on stage and do the one thing he enjoys the most.
Though music lovers are able to experience live performances again, GRCC found ways to connect to the world via video performances and outdoor events during the pandemic. While it is not the same, it still allowed the opportunity for students and artists to get themselves out there and continue to practice their musical abilities.
Debora DeWitt, who is a professor of music and head of the piano department at GRCC, talked about the outstanding effort Valenti has made to perform at GRCC.
“He is a great person – last year instead of doing the recital because we were shut down he offered to do a presentation to our students,” DeWitt said. “So, we zoomed with him and learned what it was like to be a professional performer. He talked about his practice regimen and answered all sorts of questions from our student pianists.”
Now that COVID restrictions have been rolled back and students are back on campus, Valenti will perform live.
The performance will take place Friday, Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. at the Albert P. Smith Music Center. Admission to the recital is free for GRCC students and $5 for the general public. You can purchase tickets online.