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Feb. 14-17: 24th Annual Bunny Just Piano Festival
Performances will be by professional and amateur pianists.
Minnesota State University, Mankato Department of Music News Release, 1-28-2019
MANKATO, Minn. – Minnesota State University, Mankato's 24th Annual Bunny Just Piano Festival will highlight performances by professional and amateur pianists Thursday, Feb. 14 through Sunday, Feb. 17 at the Elias J. Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts, 320 Maywood Ave.
Piano festival events are sponsored by the Bunny Just Piano Festival Endowment.
On Feb. 14, piano player and songwriter Scottie Miller (pictured at left) returns to perform at 7:30 p.m. A Minnesota Blues Hall of Fame member, Miller is an American pianist and singer-songwriter from Minneapolis. His musical style is a combination of blues, soul, funk and jazz. Miller is recognized for his high-energy performances, creative song writing, dramatic lyrics and impeccable piano playing.
Miller performs worldwide as a solo artist, or with the incredibly funky Scottie Miller Band. Miller is also the touring keyboardist for Grammy nominee and multi-Blues Music Award recipient Ruthie Foster & The Family Band. He appears on her “Live At Antones" DVD, which garnered a 2012 Blues Music Award for DVD Of The Year.
Miller says, “My songs are inspired by life and things that life throws at everyone. I write about relationships, peace, war, love, loss, addiction, heroism, family values, and the mystery of dreams."
On Feb. 17, Jerico Vasquez (pictured at right) performs at 7:30 p.m. Vasquez is the artist-in-residence and professor of music at Shorter University in Rome, Ga. An accomplished performer, Vasquez has been an active member of the Music Teachers National Association and the Georgia Music Teachers Association. He currently serves as vice president for membership for the Georgia Music Teachers Association. He has also presented workshops and lectures and has frequently served as an adjudicator in many local and regional festivals and competitions. Many of his students have also gone on to prestigious graduate music programs, including the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp, the Eastman School of Music, the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music, Rutgers University,and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, to name a few.
Other festival events include college master class sessions Feb. 15 at 1 p.m. in Halling Recital Hall with participants from Minnesota State Mankato, Gustavus Adolphus and Bethany Lutheran colleges, and a competition and master class sessions for junior and senior high school students Feb. 16 from 2-5 p.m. Master class sessions are free and open to the public.
Beneta Just initiated the Bunny Just Piano Festival at Minnesota State Mankato in 1996. In 2004 her estate created an endowment to fund the annual festival. Just was a promoter, volunteer and financial supporter of many local social concerns, including special education and human rights. A University scholarship in special education remains in her name today.
Concert admission for the Feb. 14 and Feb. 17 concerts are $12 for community members, $11 for Minnesota State Mankato students with a valid MavCARD. Discount tickets are available online for University students. Those who wish to purchase tickets online should go to www.mnsu.edu/music. For more information, call the Performance Series office, (507) 389-5549.