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Penny's Piano Party

Posted By: kenny

Penny's Piano Party - 01/19/04 12:16 AM

Okay, I'll go first.

Penny's house is gorgeous.
Upon entering you are put into a good mood by the warmth of the rich colors.
I would have never visualized the success of the colors from looking at paint chips, but, Oh Man! It really works.
The living room is a soft sponged-yellow.
The adjacent dining room is a shade that reminded me of tangerine and peach; it's at once both vibrant and yet soothing, like a sunset.

Under the piano is blond carpeting but on the other side of the room the floor is hardwood.
The piano is near a corner but it's at a 45 degree angle to it, good for acoustics.
The layout was optimized for enjoying the piano.
I grabbed the best seat, which was on the couch right where the sound reflected from the lid was focused
Her home was filled with lots of great art too.
Penny's kids are very fortunate to be growing up in such a creative, vibrant, and supportive environment.

And the piano, Oh it is a real sweet beauty with a real rich, clear and flexible sound as many players demonstrated.
I really liked it for Bach, it has a sunny sound.
Penny’s family’s teacher (they all 4 take lessons), got a really wide range of tone from the piano.
She was one seriously classically-trained pianist.

Joy made yummy Chinese fajitas (I love it. wink ).
JohnC made his famous chocolate bars that taste like Almond Roca.
Friday made lumpia of a moist tender chicken.
Penny made an eggplant dish that I ate too much of (I love the burnt-cheese part) and a chocolate cheesecake that made me reconsider the joys of obesity.

Everybody played beautifully,
I must say I could tell Penny and her hubby have been working very hard on the piano.
My compliments to your teacher, and your practicing.
So many people played; I can't remember everything everyone played - help.
There must have been 30 people at the party.
Joy played her classic and flawless “Martha My Dear”.
Really Joy you gotta lotta talent!
I’m sure you have much more music in you.
A special treat was hearing Rick Clark play his own composition.
It was very moving, and visual for me.
I feel the best art makes something happen inside the listener.
Rick's playing does that.

My only regret is not having more time to talk with friends.
It's a real conflict for me, when people are playing I want to just listen quietly.
Then, before you know it, the evening is over.

Thanks, Penny and all. Ya done good!
I saw a few cameras so pics must be coming.
We had a massive Royal Piano Pile-Up under the Grand this time.

We need another party just to socialize - No piano!
Posted By: JohnC

Re: Penny's Piano Party - 01/19/04 01:46 AM

The food was terrific, the host and hostess the best, and the music muy magnifico. Ahh, but the people, well, they were the greatest, just fantastic. A better group of people you will not find anywhere!

There is no doubt So Cal has the best piano parties! thumb

Norbert, for having attended the last two So Cal parties I hereby make you an honorary member of the Pianoworld, Southern California Chapter, party animals (Hereafter referred to as the PSCCPA)! The absolute greatest group of party animals on this forum! yippie
Posted By: Penny

Re: Penny's Piano Party - 01/19/04 02:58 AM

Thanks guys! It was so much fun. How much fun was it? I took a four-hour nap today!!! Now that's serious fun.

As for Juliet, my teacher, isn't she a hoot? Her CV says:

-- Piano performance major at the prestigious Eastman School of Music. She has also studied at New England Conservatory, Oberlin Conservatory, and Germany's Frieburg Conservatory.
-- A bachelors' degree in psychology, specializing in childhood development, from the University of Rochester.
-- She has a Master's Degree in occupational therapy from Boston University specializing in treatment of hand injuries, particularly for musicians.
But don't worry, she doesn't take herself too seriously!

Some of you witnessing her groveling at my feet might have guessed that! (I helped her start a humor column for the local paper. So she's a pianist who writes and I'm a writer who plays piano.) Anyway, we're lucky to find a teacher who relates to all four of us at completely different levels.

And Kenny, you sounded really amazing, too! We've been doing these parties for three years now and you've grown so much as a pianist (expensive teachers are sometimes worth it!). You were so good, I wanted to put a tip jar out there for you (but then again, I didn't want to scratch my piano finish).

As for the home, we feel really blessed to find such a New England-style treasure (with a big back yard that nobody could see in the dark) in Orange County. For the record, we are on the wrong side of the road (across from a very tony, guard-gated community). Then again, we don't care!

Posted By: Friday

Re: Penny's Piano Party - 01/19/04 03:05 AM

Just to make it official: Friday, the Housebound and their little ones had a great time last night.

I love the way traditions and relationships are developing through our annual PW parties. Name tags, chocolate yummies, and pile ups are just as importamt to me as the music and the faces of friends. It's too bad everyone couldn't come.

Penny, thank you for offering your beautiful home and piano for our enjoyment. I hope you and your family have many happy memories in SJC.

And Norbert, maybe in some future PW gathering we will be treated to your daughter's boogie-woogie...?

Happy Monday everyone!
Posted By: Rick Clark

Re: Penny's Piano Party - 01/19/04 03:29 AM

Wow, it's hard to think of what to add to the great descriptions above.... but I do feel I should clear up one little thing mentioned by Kenny and give credit where credit is due.

The piece I played was highly improvised, but at it's core not an original composition. Actual credit for segments of the core melody goes to Ryuichi Sakamoto for "Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence". Briguy65 correctly realized that he had heard it somewhere before.

Going back to the subject of the party, it was really great to see everyone again. Though our times together have totalled only few hours, I sense growing friendships. Sometimes I wish we were all neighbors and could get together whenever we feel like it.

Oh, and Norbert was quite the guy for overcoming great obstacles and making the party anyway.

I hope Joy and I will have a party-worthy grand sometime in the near future. I've had my eyes open for one since I first moved to the region. One failed attempt to buy a golden era Knabe A , but the owner decided to keep it. But sooner or later something will come up.


Rick Clark
Posted By: jodi

Re: Penny's Piano Party - 01/19/04 05:24 AM

I am so jealous! It sounds like it was a blast. Thanks for sharing!

smile Jodi
Posted By: Norbert

Re: Penny's Piano Party - 01/19/04 06:09 AM

I just got back home and simply like to say...


..... for a most wonderful party and an even more gracious host!!

It was a real pleasure to meet so many [old] friends again and share in our common obsession......guess,guess laugh

Also very special thanks for John C who took me all the way back to the front door of my hotel in Anaheim and made the return trip a lot easier than getting there.......

Penny, we always knew and may I confirm to all here again:


[even better than your beautiful piano... wink ]

norbert smile smile
Posted By: Joy

Re: Penny's Piano Party - 01/20/04 02:16 AM

It was an enchanted night, blessed by good friends, glorious food and wonderful music.

I carpooled with my friend Barbara, who in turn brought Trish. She and Trish are members of a local piano-playing group called Clavier, who get together to play and critique each other. They looked forward to the opportunity to share their pieces with an informal and friendly crowd. Hey, that's us!

We were greeted at the door by Penny and Mynor, our gracious hosts, plus Kenny, John C plus a slew of familiar faces, as many more poured in crowding around the food in the kitchen.

"Gawd, who brought that brie with fruit?"
"Ooooh, that eggplant..."
"Look, sushi!"

Music people know how to eat.

I made a mixture of julienned beancurd, marinated in garlic and black bean, atop stir-fried rapini, scallions, garlic and napa cabbage garnished with cilantro. A scoopful is wrapped with corn tortillas brushed with hoisin sauce. I borrowed some toasted red pepper pieces from Penny for added color to the dish. Chinese fajitas!

Penny pursued everyone with marking pen in hand, labeling all our drinking cups with our names. Good idea. Then Friday, her Housebound and family arrived with lumpia, which Penny happily passed around. All you could hear for the first hour was munch munch, crunch crunch, it was all THAT good.

After about an hour, Penny commented "Hey. This is supposed to be a PIANO party!"

After a quick moment of silence, Barbara approached the Schulze-Pollmann grand and started with a series of Bach pieces from the WTC. She returned again during the course of the evening with a Chopin Mazurka and a Scarlatti piece. Her friend Trish followed with Scarlatti and Bach.

Kenny did Bach and Chopin throughout the evening. Juliet (Penny's teacher) played some amazingly complex pieces -- gads I wish I took notes, no pun intended -- with great panache. Later Niles got lost, deep into Beethoven several times. I think he beamed himself off the planet and left us while he was in Appasionata Sonata mode. We all enjoyed it.

Brian (aka BriGuy who owns a Kawai, RX-2) brought several pieces to try out on Penny's piano, including a lovely Chopin waltz.

John de Lurker graced us with a return visit after appearing at John C's Piano Party a year ago, and showed us how vastly he improved since his debut. I can't believe he still doesn't have a acoustic piano yet. His fingering had increased assuredness. Beautiful jazz pieces!

The children performed too! Penny's Jonathan continues to improve his piano playing, while his younger sister composed a special "Jingle," and 9-year old Denise (another student of Juliet's) charmed us with her pieces.

Mynor played a sensual slow piece -- a Chopin Nocturne, I believe.

Then Penny did Gershwin's Second Prelude, which I haven't been able to get out of my mind since we left the party. Two years ago, I once heard that same piece arranged for trumpet, french horn and saxophone. I've always been enthralled with the harmonics of that piece, and its similarity to a Chopin piece Max is currently working on.

Norbert arrived later, and delighted us with his boogie woogie. He demonstrated some of the pieces he grew up with -- Handel or early Bach, I think -- then demonstrated how American music just comes more easily to him. Laughter all around.

Later, when the party was down to a few folks, John C slipped onto the Schulze Pollmann quietly to play some soft rock and roll, which the rest of us immediately sang along with from the kitchen and dining room. We couldn't help ourselves.

Then Kenny coaxed Rick to play something, and he improvised on a Ryuichi Sakamoto melody in a style that was reminiscent of "Clair de Lune." He was the only person who played "in color," another aspect the Schulze Pollmann grand can deliver to great effect.

Many thanks to Penny, Mynor and family for allowing us to play on their wonderful piano --- which was well up to the myriad piano styles that emanated from it. It truly sings! This was one of the Best Piano Parties yet!

And just wait until you see our Piano Pile-Up Group Photo.


Posted By: Rich Galassini

Re: Penny's Piano Party - 01/20/04 02:35 AM


I am so bummed that I could not get there. Cathy Harl and I both really wanted to be a part of it.

Anyway, it sounds like a classic! Glad to hear it was such a blast. smile
Posted By: Bernard

Re: Penny's Piano Party - 01/20/04 03:17 AM

Oh Boy! Oh, man. It sounds like the most wonderful party. Isn't it wonderful that Piano World has prompted these parties into existence! It's so exciting. And we're going to have to find a way for East to meet West one of these days!!
Posted By: JohnC

Re: Penny's Piano Party - 01/20/04 04:06 AM


You remembered all that without taking notes? wow eek

Can I take you to some of my meetings at work? I don't get details that good even with notes!
Posted By: Penny

Re: Penny's Piano Party - 01/20/04 04:12 AM

Yeah, Joy, about those photos ... even people who don't (yet) belong to PW are waiting with baited breath!!!! wink (not to mention a certain host and hostess).

Posted By: Penny

Re: Penny's Piano Party - 01/20/04 04:14 AM

Oh Rich! It broke my heart that I did not get your SOS email until the next day (I kept checking up until about 7 p.m.). Next year, for sure, right?

Posted By: kenny

Re: Penny's Piano Party - 01/20/04 04:26 AM

Pick the one that only shows one of my chins
Posted By: kenny

Re: Penny's Piano Party - 01/20/04 04:28 AM

Originally posted by Penny:
Yeah, Joy, about those photos ... even people who don't (yet) belong to PW are waiting with baited breath!!!! wink (not to mention a certain host and hostess).

Yeah, come on Joy, Hurry up! wink

As Norma Desmond, or a drag queen, might say, " Da Vourld Ez Vaeeting."
Posted By: Joy

Re: Penny's Piano Party - 01/20/04 05:36 AM

A postpartum note: I deleted all those nasty red X's

:t: :t: :t:

Click here: Penny\'s Piano Party 2004
Posted By: Joy

Re: Penny's Piano Party - 01/20/04 05:38 AM

Red X's be gone!!!!

mad mad mad
Posted By: Joy

Re: Penny's Piano Party - 01/20/04 05:40 AM

Posted By: RKVS1

Re: Penny's Piano Party - 01/20/04 05:44 AM

From here, Joy, its displaying only multiples of the "dreaded Red X "

Posted By: Joy

Re: Penny's Piano Party - 01/20/04 06:08 AM

Thanks Bob.

Sorry about that, folks. I did one more geekytweak but I got impatient.

Here they are!
Posted By: JohnC

Re: Penny's Piano Party - 01/20/04 06:08 AM


I think the website housing the photos can only be accessed with a member password. But I'm no expert. Get gryphon on the case. He will have it solved in no time!

gryphon......... help
Posted By: Joy

Re: Penny's Piano Party - 01/20/04 06:15 AM


I suspect you are correct.

In the meantime, here's another way to view the photos --- it should work:

2004 Piano Party Pix
Posted By: JohnC

Re: Penny's Piano Party - 01/20/04 06:49 AM


That link worked perfect! thumb

My, what a good looking group! laugh
Posted By: kenny

Re: Penny's Piano Party - 01/20/04 02:42 PM

Joy, great job! Thanks.
I think a couple of people had left by the time we had our pile up.

Does anyone remember what Trish played?
I think it was a piece by Scarlatti.
It was very moving, and wonderfully played

And Joy, wasn't Barbara your son's former teacher?
It was amazing when she was sight reading, she sounded more polished than when I've worked on the same piece for two years.
Posted By: piqué

Re: Penny's Piano Party - 01/20/04 03:32 PM

what a great looking group of people, gorgeous piano, and penny, i love your sense of style/decor.

i'll just have to wangle me a press pass for next year's NAMM so i can come to the party.

it looks like real friendships are born out of a virtual universe. isn't that great?
Posted By: Larry

Re: Penny's Piano Party - 01/20/04 04:09 PM

I wish I could come to one of these things... Maybe next year I'll try to go. A great looking group!

And Penny.......

you're a cutie!!
Posted By: RKVS1

Re: Penny's Piano Party - 01/20/04 04:56 PM

Yes! That link worked fine. A very interesting looking group, too. On most of the photos, that beautiful red of the piano shines through very well too, although the grain pattern shows up clearly only on the picture of Penny playing. (Is that your "No Drinking at the Piano" card I see there right above C8?). I think she has another picture or two on the PW photo pages somewhere.

Penny, my son played the 3 Gershwin preludes at a recital last spring so I remember that piece with special fondness. I also happened to hear Joshia Bell (rhymes with "sp?" except its for the wrong word) play this on the violin, with piano accomp just 3 or 4 days ago on PBS. It does get into your system but you have to be careful. I was downtown Saturday and started walking to that slow mournful rhythm and 2 different little ol ladies offered to help me across the street. laugh OK, I'm sorry. I exaggerated that. There was only one and she was a "lady of the afternoon" who thought I was checking her out.

Sounds like it was a great gathering......the one in So.California, not the one in downtown Topeka.

Larry's right, of course. smile

Posted By: Joy

Re: Penny's Piano Party - 01/20/04 06:37 PM

Kenny: I think a couple of people had left by the time we had our pile up.

Me: True. There were many more. Sorry we missed corralling the rest of the Party Attendees--- and you all know who you are.....


Kenny: Does anyone remember what Trish played? I think it was a piece by Scarlatti.
It was very moving, and wonderfully played.

Me: Definitely Scarlatti. I'll see if I can find out what number or name. He wrote so many Preludes!!!

Kenny: And Joy, wasn't Barbara your son's former teacher?

Me: Not exactly. Barbara is indeed a piano teacher, but not Max's. We met her a few years back during our own piano safari. We answered her ad when she put her one-year-old Petrof vertical up for sale. She had just purchased a used Petrof grand. She was moved by the way Max played Bach, and how much Max clearly loved his work. We became fast friends and stayed in touch. Later on, she referred Max to her own piano instructor, Dr. Peter Gach of Palomar College.

[A tangent for Penny: I wonder if Juliet knows Jennifer Canfield (now Marakovits). She attended Eastman too. Jennifer was Max's first piano teacher, and a most excellent one!]

Kenny: It was amazing when she was sight reading, she sounded more polished than when I've worked on the same piece for two years.

Me: I'm always in awe of those who can sight-read, and I've told her so. She in turn tells me it amazes her to behold people who can memorize pieces.

Kenny, YOU were pretty amazing yourself. Your rendition of that Chopin piece --- aka THE-Nocturne-Everyone-Knows --- was awesome.


Posted By: Norbert

Re: Penny's Piano Party - 01/20/04 09:32 PM

Larry said:

"Maybe next year I'll try to go"

That means:

I'll have to bring Steve C. for sure...if need in.......

..... HANDCUFFS!! laugh laugh

Posted By: Joy

Re: Penny's Piano Party - 01/20/04 09:43 PM


I'll bet Steve would rather hide out in Mexico. That's what he did this year...

Posted By: Penny

Re: Penny's Piano Party - 01/20/04 10:29 PM

A few more details/follow up:

My husband played a Chopin prelude (op. 28. No. 4), my teacher played Mendellsohn's "Fleecy Clouds" from Songs Without Words; Bach's Italian Concerto, second movement; and, Schumann's "Carnaval," 1st thingie (her words, not mine!). I played Gershwin's "Blue Lullaby" (as Joy reported above) and "The Old Castle" by Moussorgsky. My son played "Drift Away," the version by Uncle Cracker which is found often on Top 40 stations theses days. Next up for him, "You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch."

The lyrics to "Oh Jingle" (which I refused to sing as I played and heretowith are copyright protected, all rights reserved wink ) are:

Oh jingle, oh jingle
It's Christmas holiday
Oh jingle, oh jingle
I'll wiggle your waggles away
Oh jingle, oh jingle
It's Christmas holiday
Oh jingle, oh jingle
Have a happy Christmas hol-i-day!

Posted By: Joy

Re: Penny's Piano Party - 01/24/04 08:48 PM

Some postscript musical notes:

The Scarlatti piece Trish played is the Sonata in B minor, K87 (L.33). [Thanks for forwarding the info, Barbara!]

Among the several pieces Barbara played was the Scriabin Etude in D# minor, Op. 8, No 12, a gorgeous piece. My son is particularly fond of this one. Barbara played this one to perfection a year ago at her own Piano Party.

Oh, and a special thanks to Brian (Briguy 65) for thoughtfully providing the name tags for the party.


Posted By: lucy in the sky_dup1

Re: Penny's Piano Party - 01/25/04 05:11 AM

Oooooo . . . I hate to miss parties that look like this much fun! Happy people, gorgeous piano, what more could one ask? Once I get this computer up and running, I'm going to start saving for a plane ticket for the 2005 Piano Party . . . hope there will be one! laugh
Posted By: Joy

Re: Penny's Piano Party - 01/25/04 06:18 PM

A note to John de Lurker: I was just looking at the photos again. If you had a fedora on, tilted at just the right angle, you'd look like Humphrey Bogart in "Casablanca." Or like Jerry Lacy impersonating Humphrey Bogart in "Play It Again Sam." Now wouldn't that be a kick to see in 2005's Piano Party photos. Just a thought. Besides, you play a lot better than Sam did in the movie. What a tinny piano he had!

And one more item to share: Rick mentioned to me that the Schulze-Pollman representatives at NAMM knew all about our Piano Party -- this was before it actually happened -- and they in turn told him they were very excited and pleased that the festivities would be centered around one of their pianos. It's further proof that this Forum is indeed followed by many professionals in the industry.

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