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Thursday, February 21 , 2019, 11:33 pm | Fair 44º


‘Piano Celebration’ to Bring Down the House at Timbers

Pianist Bob Long strives to 'rekindle enthusiasm and respect for the instrument, its music and its players.'

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Pianist Bob Long will share his love of music during the second “Piano Celebration” at the Timbers restaurant in Goleta on Sunday. (Gerald Carpenter / Noozhawk photo)

If the piano is your instrument, either for playing or for listening, make your way to the Timbers restaurant in Goleta on Sunday for the second “Piano Celebration.” The event is free and starts at 1 p.m.

The “Piano Celebration” is the labor of love for pianist Bob Long, who grew up in Santa Barbara and has, he says, “recently returned after three decades of piano performing around the world.” Long is a working, professional musician, and if this event has an element of amateurism, it is only in the sense of someone doing something for the love of doing it.

“It’s a friendly, casual atmosphere,” Long says, “and we encourage all piano players to attend. You can play, or you can just listen, whichever you prefer. There will be beginning pianists, amateurs, students as well as professional concert artists.” The music will be drawn from every type, so long as it was written with 88 keys in mind. “There will be ragtime, classical, jazz, pop — all styles,” he says.

Long stages the celebrations as a first step in an admirably ambitious project of raising public awareness of this monarch of instruments. “Over the past few years,” he says, “I have noticed a general decline in the public’s awareness and appreciation of good piano music of all styles, and I have decided to form a society of pianists and piano fans to rekindle enthusiasm and respect for the instrument, its music and its players.”

Long is in earnest about founding “The International Piano Society.” His “dream and vision is to have various chapters start in other communities both here and abroad. The Santa Barbara chapter will be the flagship of the society.”

There is something of a codicil to Long’s promise of free admission. “I always assure Hady, the Timbers’ owner,” he says, “that people will probably buy a sandwich or something.” Long hopes to persuade Hady to allow the events on a bimonthly basis.

In April, there were 11 pianists, who were outnumbered by their admirers four to one. This time, there are likely to be more of each. The lineup is likely to include such local luminaries as Frank Frost, Stan Tysell, Joe Pixley and Gil Rosas, in addition to Long.

Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributor.

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