New Jersey Stage
New Jersey Stage on social media


This article is from our magazine. To view it in its original format, click here

Kids On Keys & Dueling Pianos
To Promote Autism Awareness

By Gary Wien

originally published: 04/24/2018

Kids On Keys & Dueling Pianos To Promote Autism Awareness

“As a schooled pianist and seeing so much since the age of three when I started formal lessons, I have always thought that when someone has a setback with Autism or something similar, that somewhere they are rewarded with a special talent that I’ll never have,” said Stormin’ Norman Seldin, a Jersey Shore musical legend.

Seldin will be part of a special concert on Saturday, May 5th at Monmouth University’s Pollak Theatre.  It’s an event to benefit Autism Awareness that also includes three young piano prodigies, Tim McLoone, and the amazing Steinway & Sons “Spirio” Grand Piano.

Stormin’ Norman will take the bench at the Steinway and Sons Model D (furnished for the occasion by Jacobs Music of Lawrenceville) for a soulful set of originals and classic covers drawn from his decades-spanning career and encyclopedic musical memory. As a special treat, he’ll be joined by a fellow Shore area favorite entertainer — pianist, vocalist and ace accompanist Vance Villastrigo — for a set-within-a-set that could only be called “Dueling Pianos.”

The three young piano prodigies include Elizabeth Williams and Andy Milsten (both 14 years old) and 9-year-old Taksh Gupta. Williams has performed at Carnegie Hall, and was accepted into The Julliard School’s Music Advancement Program when she was 9.  

Even though he’s only nine, Gupta has been participating in piano competitions for four years and is a two-time first prize winner at NJMTA Spring Audition.  He’s performed at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York, Rutgers University, Rider University and Stockton University.  



The article continues after this ad

 


As for Milsten, this is a special concert for him.  He was diagnosed as being on the Autism Spectrum at age three.  He began playing the trumpet in the 4th grade and progressed well with learning the instrument.  His parents were pleasantly surprised to see how focused and socially appropriate Andy was during a school’s Spring Concert.  He was even able to hold things together in the evening after his medication had worn off. 

In the 7th grade, Andy became interested in the music of John Williams.  He listened to all of Williams’ movie themes on YouTube, and tried to play the themes on his trumpet.  His parents had purchased an electronic keyboard for Andy’s sister who expressed an interest in taking piano lessons.  Andy started to try to play John Williams’ music on the keyboard and figured out the melodies fairly quickly. His father took him to the York Symphony Orchestra who was performing the works of John Williams in concert.  It was there that his love for the symphony was born and he now regularly attends classical music concerts every month.

Kids On Keys & Dueling Pianos To Promote Autism AwarenessSeldin has known the three young performers for many years and has watched them progress as musicians. When he thinks of Milsten, it reminds him both of his early days at the piano and the power of music itself.

“Andy plays because he loves what he has found and has no fear when he is at the piano like many others would have,” said Seldin. “I have no doubt that somewhere in his mind he is connecting with much more of the world when he plays music.  And when someone feels that there is no stopping them.”

 The concert will be a treat for pianists and piano lovers to see and hear the Steinway & Songs “Spirio” Grand Piano. This is an American handcrafted piano that takes between 10-14 months to build.  The Spirio is the world’s finest high-resolution player piano. Attendees will hear pieces from Vladimir Horowitz, Lang Lang, and George Gershwin played live on this masterpiece of artistry and engineering.

“I am an official Steinway Spirio recording artist and when I did my recordings, it haunted me to hear ‘exactly what I played’ coming out of an acoustic grand,” said Seldin.  “If time allows, I might let the Spirio play one of my recordings and I’ll do the second part on another grand piano on stage.  Each note has over 1,100 variations of touch on it.  It’s amazing!”

Tickets for the concert range from $25 to $35 for adults and $10 for students.  The concert takes place in the Pollak Theatre on the campus of Monmouth University in West Long Branch.

For an event designed to raise awareness of Autism, seeing Andy Milsten perform will bring it all into focus and his parents sum it up best.

“Andy has truly found his home in music.  Music makes him happy, gives him purpose, and an enormous sense of worth and accomplishment.  His demeanor has changed dramatically in the past year in direct correlation with his musical advancement.  For the first time since Andy’s autism diagnosis in 2007, we are excited about all that his future may hold.”




For more by this author, click here






State Theatre New Jersey presents Cirque Dreams Holidaze
(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- State Theatre New Jersey presents Cirque Dreams Holidaze on Friday, December 7 at 8:00pm, Saturday, December 8 at 2:00pm and 8:00pm, and Sunday, December 9 at 2:00pm. Cirque Dreams Holidaze, a division of Cirque du Soleil, has become a critically acclaimed, state-of-the-art Broadway musical, and a fun-filled, holiday family show. Tickets range from $35-$98.
NJSO presents 2019 Winter Festival, 'Music Speaks'
(NEWARK, NJ) -- A trio of renowned guest artists with distinct musical voices—pianists Emanuel Ax and Daniil Trifonov and soprano Dawn Upshaw—headline the NJSO’s Winter Festival, “Music Speaks,” in January 2019. The Orchestra’s signature artistic event takes place across three weekends, January 10–27, in six New Jersey venues.
RVCC Chorale to Perform Annual Holiday Concert on December 8th
(BRANCHBURG, NJ) --The RVCC Chorale will give its annual holiday concert on Saturday, December 8 at 8:00pm in the Welpe Theatre at Raritan Valley Community College’s Branchburg campus. The program will feature Johann Sebastian Bach’s cantata, Das Neugeborne Kindelein, as well as a cappella pieces from by Sergei Rachmaninov, Zoltan Kodaly and Giuseppe Verdi. The program also will include an audience singalong of traditional carols.
Classic Stones Live! The Complete Rolling Stones Tribute Show Comes To SOPAC
(SOUTH ORANGE, NJ) -- The Rolling Stones, the greatest Blues band of all time, couldn’t make it to SOPAC on their 2018 tour. Instead, the acclaimed tribute band Classic Stones Live! makes an appearance on the SOPAC stage December 15 at 8:00pm for those who like to hear their Rolling Stones hits live.
Tony Trischka Presents "Of a Winter's Night" at the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship
(MORRISTOWN, NJ) -- Of a Winter’s Night is Tony Trischka's acoustic celebration of the holiday season. Based on his CD release of the same name, this concert features Trischka’s considerable melodic inventiveness on a wide variety of seasonal tunes. He turns his inventiveness loose on bluegrass and Americana music for the holidays. This one of a kind concert will take place at the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship on Saturday, December 8 at 7:30pm.


"An Amazing Musical Genius!" Brian Wilson LIVE! at the State Theatre
In the music room in the back of our house, there’s an electric bass and amp, two acoustic guitars, a microphone and PA speakers, several pieces of music recording equipment, and a bookcase filled with books on music, not to mention a slew of assorted music memorabilia. But, perhaps, one of the most highly prized items in the room is hanging directly above the piano next to the college music diplomas.
Jazz Saxophonist Don Braden LIVE! at Toms River’s Grunin Center
It’s a breezy day for a new installment of the Jazz On a Sunday Afternoon concert series at Toms River, NJ’s Grunin Center of the Arts this Sunday Oct. 27, 2018 afternoon. Today’s special 3pm performance is entitled Earth, Wind and Wonder and is presented by jazz saxophonist Don Braden.
Charlie Thomas’ Drifters, The Classics IV, and The Brooklyn Bridge LIVE! at The Strand, Lakewood
The stars are out this Saturday Oct. 26, 2018 evening in Lakewood, NJ for a “Golden Oldies” concert featuring Charlie Thomas’ Drifters, The Classics IV, and The Brooklyn Bridge!
PODCAST: Grammy Winner Terri Lyne Carrington At TD James Moody Jazz Festival
Drummer, leader, and composer Terri Lyne Carrington made history as the first woman to win a Grammy for Best Instrumental Jazz for her album “Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue.” Now, she brings her interpretation of Duke Ellington’s “Money Jungle” to the TD James Moody Jazz Festival at NJPAC on November 11, 2018, as part of a program called “Jazz Vinyl Revisited.” Producer Susan Wallner talks to Carrington about her connections to the jazz greats Clark Terry and Max Roach; her newest project, the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice; and why she thinks drummers make natural leaders.
Sha Na Na LIVE! at the Newton Theatre
The audience is streaming into the Newton Theatre auditorium in Newton, NJ this Friday, Oct. 19, 2018 for a live concert starring Sha Na Na!










Event calendar
Thursday, Nov 15, 2018


MUSIC

New Politics @ House of Independents, Asbury Park - 8:00pm

THE REPUTATIONS @ The Saint, Asbury Park - 7:30pm

TOTO @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 8:00pm


THEATRE

An Actor's Carol @ Cape May Stage, Cape May - 7:30pm

ANNIE, The Musical @ Axelrod Performing Arts Center, Deal Park - 8:00pm

Apples In Winter @ Centenary Stage Company - Kutz Theater of the Lackland Center, Hackettstown - 7:30pm

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat @ The Levoy Theatre, Millville - 7:30pm

Spring Awakening: The Rock Musical @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 8:00pm







DANCE

PARSONS DANCE @ State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick - 8:00pm


FILM

Crybaby Matinee: March of the Penguins @ Hopewell Theater, Hopewell - 11:00am

View all events










 






















For more on our awards, click here








New Jersey Stage © 2018 by Wine Time Media, LLC | PO Box 140, Spring Lake, NJ 07762 (732) 280-7625 | info@newjerseystage.com

Images used on this site have been sent to us from publicists, artists, and PR firms.
If there is a problem with the rights to any image, please contact us and we will look into the matter.