Dr. Christopher Mechell will present a classical piano benefit concert for the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts (MCA) on Sunday, April 14th at 6pm (this is a rescheduled from 3/14, which was postponed due to unsafe weather conditions) inside the Academy Theatre at MCA’s home, The Valencia Arts Center. The community is invited to enjoy the works of Grieg, Liszt, and Brahms. Dr. Mechell grew up in Winona and completed his Doctorate in Piano Performance in 2016 at the University of Washington while studying under Professor Craig Sheppard. Christopher earned his Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Piano Performance with a concentration in Music Theory from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. A music scholarship and assistantship winner throughout his years, Christopher studied with Evelyne Brancart and Edward Auer. Christopher was the recipient of the Music Faculty Award Scholarship, the Friends of Music Scholarship, the Graduate Music Merit Fellowship Award, and the High Scholastic Achievement Founder’s Day Award.
A dedicated performer and pedagogue, Christopher regularly performs and is on faculty at St. Cloud State University. He also maintains a piano studio at the Wirth Center for the Performing Arts in St. Cloud, MN. On a local note, Christopher has presented numerous benefit recitals in Winona and the surrounding community. He has made it his credo to give back to the local community whenever possible. These benefits include recitals for Big Brother/Big Sisters of Winona, the Winona Historical Society, and Home and Community Options. Christopher is probably best known for his 2004 piano recital that raised $7,000 to purchase a new grand piano for Winona Senior High School.
In Fall of 2018 MCA received a generous donation from the Carl and Verna Schmidt Foundation that has been used to purchase the majority of the pianos and equipment for the establishment of a class piano lab, however, additional funds are needed to complete the project. Proceeds from free-will donations at the concert given by Dr. Mechell will be used to make up the remaining costs to set up the piano lab that will help impact the lives of community members of all ages. MCA provides private music lessons to over 100 students per week, but a class offering will make piano instruction more affordable and more accessible to a wider group of individuals while creating a fun social environment for learning the piano not available elsewhere in the community. Plans are to open the lab by May of 2019 with piano instruction by Lauren Mechell.
The Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts (MCA), an affiliate program of Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, is a nonprofit organization offering programming in dance, music, visual art, and theater. Classes, lessons, workshops, and camps are offered for students of all ages from birth through older adults at the Valéncia Arts Center. For more information about the piano lab or how you can make a donation, go to mnconservatoryforthearts.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 507-453-5500.