Asheville Area Piano Forum’s spring benefit concert returns for 12th year

Press release from Asheville Area Piano Forum: 

Always a highlight of the spring music season, the Asheville Area Piano Forum will be presenting its annual spring benefit concert on Sunday, April 30th at 3:00 PM at the Blue Ridge Auditorium of Deerfield Estates, 1 Wakefield Dr, Asheville, NC 28803. The event will showcase the talents of 5 professional pianists including: Kimberly Cann, Elizabeth Child, Leslie Downs, Hwa-Jin Kim, and Alex Watson. The program will include solo and four-hand piano works by Bach, Haydn, Mozart, and Faure.

Its two annual benefit concerts in the fall and spring are the main source of income for the AAPF educational outreach programs. These include: providing financial assistance to deserving students facing challenges paying for piano lessons, as well as support for the Keys for Kidz group piano classes which introduce music and the arts to underserved students in our community. 100% of proceeds from the benefit concerts goes directly to these two outreach programs. The 501(c)(3) non-profit organization also provides lectures free to the public, master-classes, student recitals, monthly performance groups, and the annual Asheville Piano Competition.

According to AAPF President, Nathan Shirley, “It’s now widely known that children, and even adults, derive countless benefits from piano instruction and playing music ingeneral.”  A 2015 study conducted by researchers at the University of Vermont College of Medicine points out that there’s an overwhelming case to be made for learning music. The study shows that early music training can actually increase a child’s receptiveness to learning other subjects. “What we found was the more a child trained on an instrument,” said James Hudziak, psychiatry professor and director of the Vermont Center for Children, Youth and Families, “it accelerated cortical organization in attention skill, anxiety management and emotional control.” Hudziak added, “What I was surprised by was the emotional regulatory regions. Everyone in our culture knows if I lift 5-pound, 10-pound, 15-pound weights, my biceps will get bigger. The same is true for the brain. We shouldn’t be surprised we can train the brain.” After completing this study, Hudziak decided to take up viola lessons. He said, “I had this passion for health promotion in children, it seemed silly not to do it myself.”

AAPF membership is open to professional and amateur pianists, teachers, students, enthusiasts and all who support the outreach programs, which enhance the music education of both children and adults in our community.  For more information about the AAPF and the program for the April 30 Benefit Concert, visit or email

The following suggested donations may be made at the door: Adults $25, Patrons $40, Students 13-21 $3.

About Thomas Calder
Thomas Calder received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. He has worked with several publications, including Gulf Coast and the Collagist. For his weekly #tuesdayhistory tidbits on Asheville, follow him on Instagram @tcalder.

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