To say that helping to support an organization is “our pleasure” can be an idle phrase or a polite formality. For us, in the case of the American Pianists Association (APA), it is literally true and highly descriptive.
APA has been a source of pleasure to us since our very first encounter. In 2006, Gary received an invitation from a friend to attend the song-recital portion of the classical competition.
Photo by Janet Nine
The focus was on German “Lieder,” and so Gary decided to bring along his then 77-year-old mother, Annemarie, a German immigrant who used to sing in a radio choir as a young woman in Munich. Since 2004, Annemarie had spent most of her days caring for Gary’s father as he battled cancer. Respites are few in such situations. But on that evening, Annemarie had a remarkable respite. She was enthralled by the piano playing and song, and seemed happier and more relaxed than she had in a long time. It was a night that she still remembers with great pleasure.
Our financial support began with the thought that any organization that can deliver such a memory deserved at least a modest contribution. However, the more we learned about APA—and especially the more we experienced—the more we realized that the 2007 song recital was not unusual. In what it does and how it does it, the APA always exceeds expectations. We have wonderful memories of Music Matters programs—listening to some of the finest pianists in the world in intimate settings—of getting to know the competing artists at community events, of hearing the spark these artists provide to Indy’s own orchestras and ensembles, of the jazz finals at The Jazz Kitchen, and much more. There was pleasure in every instance.
The APA’s mission—to nurture the talents and careers of young artists while sharing extraordinary music in our community—is a distinctive and powerful “business model.” But it works not just because it’s a good idea but primarily because it’s well carried out. Beginning with the executive director—rightfully known and loved by many other pianists all over the world—and including every member of the small APA team, these people make the real difference. They are hard-working, creative, passionate, and seem to be having great fun—and it rubs off on the APA’s competitors, on its supporters, and on most everyone involved in its programs.
In 2009, Gary accepted an overseas work assignment that took us to Germany for nearly three years. Even surrounded by the rich cultural offerings of central Europe, we missed the APA—and we could see its uniqueness even more clearly. We never even considered putting our support of the group on hold, simply because we could not experience the pleasure of its programs personally. Our hope is to see the APA get stronger and stronger—which means remaining a small but reliable part of the foundation that it can continue to build on.
Support of the APA is “our pleasure,” but may it continue to be many other people’s pleasure as well—for a long, long time.
Gary and Kristin Geipel