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Cordogans in the News

Cordogan's is not just another Chicago piano store—we are a community of musicians active in the communities that surround us.  Music and musical education play a big part in every community, and Cordogan's is proud to have made a significant contribution to the musical life of Chicagoland.  Please read some of our stories below:

Parents!! Click here for a must-read article from Music Inc. magazine
written firsthand by a parent mired in the "acoustic vs. digital" dilemma!

The Daily Herald, DuPage County, IL - 1/26/13
"Behold the American Grands! - Weekend Picks"
The Beacon News, Aurora, IL
"Big-Hearted Teen Given New Piano"

When Hurrican Katrina took her piano, 16-year-old Brittany Williams of Metairie, La., lost her means of giving music lessons to children afflicted with autism and Downs Ayndrome. She immediately got on the Web and began searching for a replacement.

That search led her to chicagopianos.com, the Web site for Cordogan's Pianoland of Geneva, IL. Cordogan's immediately decided to donate a piano to Williams, who has now resumed her teaching.

"It was evident from the very beginning this was a very special request from a very special person," said Cordogan's Vice President. "We receive many requests for donations, and we do as much as we can to support good causes. This one really took [us]."

On July 10, the Williams family drove to the Cordogan's store in Geneva, IL to thank the company personally. The WGN news crew came to Cordogan's and featured the story on WGN's evening "News at Nine," which aired nationally.

This Saturday Elgin Community College will play host to a chorus of grand proportions - grand piano proportions, that is.

A dozen grand pianos will grace the stage at ECC's Blizzard Theatre, 1700 Spartan Drive in Elgin, for the American Grands, a musical show that will feature a chorus that comprises only the ivory keys.

Three separate performances will be held at 1, 4 and 7 p.m. Saturday. The 1 p.m. performance has already sold out, but tickets for the remaining shows can be purchased at www.elgin.edu/arts or by calling the ECC box office at (847) 622-0300.

Tickets cost $22 for adults and $15 for children 12 and younger.

American Grands is unique in that it provides an opportunity for pianists to play together in an ensemble.

"With most other instruments musicians are able to form an ensemble and play together," American Grands music director Larry Dieffenbach said.

"For pianists, most of the time it's solo piano playing or maybe duet playing at best. So being able to gather together and play together is really a great gift."

Nearly 500 pianists of varying skill, representing about 50 communities in the Chicago area, will grace the stage throughout the three shows. This is the largest number of performers American Grands has seen in its 15-year history. Each of the three performances will feature a mixture of the different skill levels. Two performers will be at each of the 12 pianos on stage during each show, playing everything from classical to contemporary music.

Some of the musicians will be as young as six years old.

"(American Grands) has just continually grown," Dieffenbach said. "It all probably began 14 years ago with about 100 piano players."

According to Dieffenbach, the practice of group piano playing goes all the way back to the 1800s. While American Grands is only celebrating 15 years, organizers have no intention of making the show any less grand.

Musical composer Kevin Olson will be working with some American Grands performers to commission a new piano piece, "Pianolands," that will debut at next year's performance to honor Cordogan's Pianoland in Geneva.

Cordogan's has been a faithful American Grands sponsor, providing all 12 pianos utilized by the show, as well as keeping the instruments in tuned, tip top shape.

"We are so grateful for the work (Cordogan's) has done for us," Dieffenbach said.

In November a committee of piano teachers selected the music that will be performed this year and rehearsals have been going on for the past month.

"It's just great to see so many people involved in music," Dieffenbach said.

"All of the pianos playing at once create a really amazing sound. It's a piano orchestra. It will be amazing to hear and also to see. Watching a pianist's hands is not unlike watching a string player's hands in an orchestra."

DuPage Daily Herald, January 28, 2010
"Nearly 500 pianists to take the stage Saturday at ECC"

Nearly 500 pianists of all ages and skill levels will play during American Grands XVII on Saturday, Jan. 28, at Elgin Community College. Performances begin at 1, 4 and 7 p.m. in the ECC Arts Center’s Blizzard Theatre, 1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin.

Previously a mainstay of the former St. Charles Music Festival, the ECC production is sponsored by Cordogan’s Pianoland in Geneva, the event’s sponsor since its inception. Cordogan’s has provided and maintained all the Yamaha grand pianos for the huge annual undertaking.

Audiences will hear the premiere of two pieces penned by Utah composer Kevin Olson dedicated to two longtime American Grands participants, Mary Hooper and Jill Dickens. This is Hooper’s final year of teaching the younger students for the event. Dickens is a founding member of American Grands and has performed in every event.

“This event is a joyful celebration of the piano,” Music Director Larry Dieffenbach of Geneva says of American Grands. “Group piano performances are rare, and I think that is why both players and audience members have responded to American Grands with such enthusiasm for 17 years. It’s so exciting to see players of all ages on stage, playing together, and sharing their love of music.”

This will be Dieffenbach’s 16th concert. He is on the music faculty at ECC, teaches privately in Geneva, and is the organist/music director at The Little Home Church by the Wayside in Wayne. He also is founder/director of the St. Charles International Piano Competition. Dieffenbach made his orchestral debut under the baton of New York conductor Broch Macelherin.

Colin Holman returns as conductor, a role he has held for 16 of the 17 American Grands concerts. He maintains an active career as conductor and musicologist in the Chicago area as music director of the Fox Valley Concert Band, Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Brass Band and the St. Louis Brass Band. He also teaches undergraduate and graduate music history at Northern Illinois University.

Jon Mortensen again serves as percussionist, percussion arranger and assistant conductor, having been with American Grands since its first year. Mortensen, a music educator for the past 26 years, has a broad theater background, and has been principal timpanist for the Rockford Symphony Orchestra and the Woodstock Mozart Festival Orchestra since 1986.

Tickets to American Grands XVII cost $22 for adults and $15 for children ages 12 and younger. Tickets for all performances in the ECC Arts Center are available online at tickets.elgin.edu or at the ECC box office in the arts center. Box office hours are noon to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and noon to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. To purchase tickets by phone, call (847) 622-0300.

Visit elgin.edu/arts for more information about the ECC Arts Center, including video clips of upcoming artists and events, the Standing Room Only blog, and links to the Arts Center’s Twitter and Facebook pages.

 


DuPage Daily Herald, January 24, 2010

"American Grands concert set for Elgin Community College"

American Grands 2010American Grands, the piano event of the year, will have its milestone 15th annual concert on Saturday, Jan. 30, at Elgin Community College. Hundreds of performers hailing from dozens of area communities will take the stage at 1, 4 and 7 p.m. in the Visual and Performing Arts Center Blizzard Theatre on the ECC Main Campus, 1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin.

Previously a mainstay of the former St. Charles Music Festival, this ECC production is sponsored by Cordogan's Pianoland, Geneva, the event sponsor since its inception. Cordogan's has provided and maintained all pianos for this huge undertaking each year. The event is a musical extravaganza, and will showcase players of all talent levels and ages.

"American Grands is an event unlike any other," said Music Director Larry Dieffenbach. "For one day, the Blizzard Theatre is transformed into a venue featuring a dozen pianos with one to three musicians at each instrument. This is a must-see concert for fans of music, especially the piano."

American Grands has grown in size each every single year, exceeding 480 applicants earlier in the fall. Dieffenbach states, "We get so excited as the registrations start coming in each year. It proves the enduring popularity of this beautiful musical instrument across multiple generations of musicians."

This will be Dieffenbach's 14th concert. He is on the music faculty at ECC, teaches privately in Geneva, is on the faculty of Kindermusik of St. Charles and is the organist/music director at the Little Home Church by the Wayside in Wayne. He also is founder/director of the St. Charles International Piano Competition. Dieffenbach made his orchestral debut under the baton of New York conductor, Broch Macelherin.

Colin Holman returns as conductor, a role he has held for 14 of the 15 American Grands concerts. He maintains an active career as conductor and musicologist in the Chicago area as music director of the Fox Valley Concert Band, Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Brass Band and the St. Louis Brass Band. He also teaches undergraduate and graduate music history at Northern Illinois University, DeKalb.

Holman leads the musicians in arrangements for multiple pianos highlighting both classical and popular music.

Jon Mortensen will return as leader of the initial rehearsal, and performs as percussionist with a full percussion section. He has been with American Grands since the first year, serving as percussionist, percussion arranger and assistant conductor. Mortensen, a music educator for the past 25 years, has a broad theater background, and is principal timpanist for the Rockford Symphony Orchestra and the Woodstock Mozart Festival Orchestra since 1986.

Tickets to American Grands XV are $22 for adults and $15 for children age 12 and under. Tickets for all performances in ECC's Arts Center are now available online at elgin.edu/arts or at the ECC Box Office located in the Arts Center. Box office hours are noon to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and noon to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

To purchase tickets by phone, call (847) 622-0300. Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express are accepted. For more information about the ECC Arts Center's season, visit www.elgin.edu/arts.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - MAY 28, 2009

ManorCare of Westmont Welcomes Pianoland donation “with Grace”

WESTMONT, IL - It was a match made in heaven!  Grace and Peace Chaplaincy, a Christian team ministering with older adults - and a piano store owner with a huge heart! The chaplaincy team of Rev. Rita Kay Lochner, Glen Ellyn resident and  Evangelical Covenant Church minister, and musician Ruth Comfield of Warrenville, bring church to those who cannot go to church.  They have been conducting monthly worship services at ManorCare of Westmont for a few years, but the piano in the meeting room was “on its last legs.”

Believing that somewhere there was a good, used piano that needed a new home, Rev. Lochner contacted her alma mater, Wheaton College.  There she spoke to Susan Brinkman, assistant to Dr. Tony Payne, Director of the Conservatory of Music.  Brinkman was unaware of any immediate piano available but suggested Lochner call Johannes, owner of Cordogan's Pianoland (chicagopianos.com), who supplies the college with pianos.  Much to Rev. Lochner's surprise and great pleasure, Johannes explained that his company has a donor program whereby pianos are given a "second life," which means that used pianos are paired with nonprofit groups with need. 
 
Ask About Cordogan's Donation Program!
PHOTO CAPTION:  Rev. Rita Kay Lochner and Ruth Comfield  of Grace and Peace Chaplaincy at the donated Pianoland piano with Dave Nichols from ManorCare of Westmont.

For a qualifying piano, Cordogan's Pianoland in Geneva, Illinois, will pick up the piano at their expense, provide the donor with an appraised value for tax purposes, will tune and provide any necessary repairs. They will then review their list of not-for-profit institutions who have expressed a need and deliver it to them free of charge, -- services which can easily exceed $1000 per piano. They will even provide a donor plaque for the piano.

Within a month of the request, Cordogan's Pianoland delivered a lovingly used and expertly repaired piano to ManorCare's upstairs dining room. At the monthly Grace and Peace Chaplaincy worship service, Chaplain Lochner dedicated this beautiful used piano with walnut case as God's special gift of music. Resident Dave Nichols acknowledged divine intervention and received this donation with a prayer of thanksgiving.  Pianist Ruth Comfield exclaimed, "It's beautiful, all the keys work, it's in tune and has a warm, bright sound.  It’s such a joy to play!"

ManorCare of Westmont, a medical and rehabilitation center on Ogden Avenue, Westmont, is one of nearly thirty residential senior homes which have been served by Grace and Peace Chaplaincy since 2005. Maria Diver, Activity Director, commented, “These women who truly care about others have provided non-denominational worship services and enhanced our program’s ability to meet spiritual needs of all residents.”  Executive Administrator Lisa Ulm added, “The facility truly appreciates this generous gesture on the part of Grace and Peace Chaplaincy and Cordogan’s Pianoland.  Music is a gift all our patients can enjoy.”

 

 
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