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Karlene Austin and Maureen Fagan Bristow invite the community to their April 28 classical music program

LON AUSTIN - Prineville musicians Maureen Fagan Bristow, left, and Karlene Austin plan a Duo Piano Program this Sunday afternoon.

Two local musicians will present a free program featuring everything from Bach to Benny Goodman this Sunday afternoon, and they welcome the community to join them.

"We're doing quite a variety," said Maureen Fagan Bristow.

"We've picked music that people will be familiar with," added Karlene Austin.

The two present a Duo Piano Program at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 28 at Prineville Community Church.

"It's music written for two pianos. We are not a piano duet — we are duo pianos," Fagan Bristow explained.

They will play 12 selections of classical music through the ages.

"We're starting off with Bach's 'Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring,' and then we're doing several numbers from the Romantic Classical period. We're doing several selections from Bizet's 'Carmen' suite," Austin said.

The two friends will play several other piano duo pieces, including the works of Antonin Dvorak, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Ernesto Lecuona and Cole Porter.

"We will have a couple of numbers that are from the Big Band period," Austin said, noting that they will also play some pieces from the Romantic and Contemporary eras.

Fagan Bristow will play the clarinet for two pieces, accompanied by Austin on the piano, including works by Gabriel Faure and "Tattletale" by Benny Goodman and Tommy Todd.

Austin will also accompany their guest soloist Rhea Cardwell, who will sing two operatic arias by composer Giacomo Puccini.

"She contacted me to accompany her in the Follies, and I was enamored," Austin said of Cardwell. "We decided to ask her to sing two arias in our program."

Cardwell, a Crook County High School graduate, was Miss Crook County and went on to win the talent portion of the 2005 Miss Oregon Pageant by playing "Quatre Mazurkas" by Chopin on the piano.

"She's very, very talented," Fagan Bristow said, adding that she was Cardwell's piano teacher.

Music has been a big part of Fagan Bristow's life. She began playing the clarinet in sixth-grade band and soon added the saxophone and piano to her repertoire. She began teaching private music lessons in the 1980s and continues to teach.

"I'm mainly an instrumentalist, I'm not necessarily a vocalist," she said, adding that she plays music for her church, St. Joseph Catholic Church. "I wear a lot of music hats."

Fagan Bristow plays the clarinet, saxophone, piano and drums and performs with several groups in the area. She plays the clarinet with Prineville Hot Five and plays tenor sax and piano with the CCHS jazz band. She has been a choir accompanist for the local middle and high schools for many years. She also accompanies the High Desert Christian Academy choir on piano.

Fagan Bristow and Austin got acquainted several years ago when Fagan Bristow taught clarinet to Austin's daughter.

"A lot of times, I would accompany my own students, but if the piece was very difficult, I would have Karlene accompany because I was focusing on being the teacher, and it's hard for me to be the teacher and the accompanist," Fagan Bristow said. "She was such an accomplished pianist."

Austin started playing the piano at the tender age of 6.

"My mother was my teacher until I went to college. I thought that my mother had taught me piano because she was a violinist and she needed any accompanist," Austin laughs

She majored in music education at Portland State University and then taught elementary music for four years in Dayton. After she married and started a family, she taught private piano lessons before taking a full-time job.

"Now that I'm retired, I'm picking up piano students again," Austin said, noting that classical music is her favorite genre.

She also has more time to play piano and often plays piano and organ for her church, Prineville Community Church.

Austin and Fagan Bristow began playing music together about 12 years ago and put on a music program together in 2009.

More recently, they decided to perform a second free program for the community in order to stretch themselves and to give them a reason to work on new pieces.

They enjoy performing and think their audience will recognize most of the pieces.

"Definitely the pieces from Carmen I think people might have heard before — even if it was just in a commercial," Austin said.

"It's a nice afternoon of music with very diverse musical offerings," Fagan Bristow said.


Maureen Fagan Bristow and Karlene Austin present a Duo Piano Program, featuring vocal soloist Rhea Cardwell

Date: 3 p.m. Sunday, April 28

Location: Prineville Community Church, 520 NE Elm St.


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