Piano Players Rock Around the Clock for Health and Healing

 In Culture, Event

Piano music can set many moods—gentle and calming, raucous and energizing, fun and silly. At the Keys for Keys Pianothon, you’ll get to hear pretty much all of them during one 24-hour stretch from 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 24, through 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 25.

Highlights include a Broadway sing-a-long, indie/pop/folk performances, a jazz jam session, morning relaxation yoga, a family movement class and a swinging brunch. Pianists range from students at local music schools to well-known local groups like the Soulard Blues Band, Sweetie and the Toothaches and the Adam Maness Trio. There are also many individual musicians contributing time—including Leslie Sanazaro, Rocky Tucker, Patrick Joyce, Alex Sinclair, Elin Gomez, Rebecca Butler, Amy Hawkins, Rick Kilian and more.

Piano Players Rock Around the Clock for Health and Healing

Image courtesy of Sweetie and The Toothaches.

They’re all coming together at 50/Fifty Kitchen in South City to benefit Places for People, which provides mental-health care using evidence-based practices to illuminate a path to recovery for thousands of people each year living with severe mental illness and substance-use disorders.

Event organizer Joe Jackson, who owns Jackson Pianos in the Central West End, says the idea came to him as the result of a year with during which he and his family lost several friends to crime and substance use. He was already demoralized over those deaths when, “on a bright, sunny Saturday afternoon, several cars were broken into on our company parking lot while we were having a big employee meeting and several thousand dollars’ worth of equipment was taken. While not as bad as the violence and deaths, this was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” Jackson says. “I was done letting crime and violence become the status quo in my city. Right after I called the police to report this crime, I called my sister, who is a substance-abuse therapist at Places for People, and I told her I needed to find a way to do something proactive, something positive, in the wake of all these negative things.”

Jackson brainstormed the event and lined up partners, including Bob Madden at 50/Fifty Kitchen, which is hosting the free event and selling food and drinks throughout the 24 hours, with brunch from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 25.

Piano Players Rock Around the Clock for Health and Healing

Image courtesy of Jackson Pianos.

“We now have close to 50 piano players set to play, from students to the best professional pianists St. Louis has to offer,” Jackson says. “Piano music will be both the backdrop and take center stage.” Throughout the event, guests will also hear about Places for People from providers and recipients of its services.

Although much of the schedule is already set, there are still opportunities for drop-in players, especially during the overnight jam party from midnight to 5 a.m. To learn more or to sign up, contact Jackson Pianos at 314.371.4527. Event details, including a full lineup of performers, are available here.

Featured image courtesy of Gregory Hayes.

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