Former longtime Daily News reporter and editor Andre Stepankowsky returns to the classical music stage — a digital one — when he presents a holiday season piano recital to benefit a successful program for homeless families in Cowlitz County.
The performance will be Stepankowsky’s eighth local charity piano recital, following live shows in 1985, 2000, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012.
Due to the pandemic, the recital will appear on YouTube only. It will debut at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5, and will be available on YouTube indefinitely after that.
The already-recorded recital features an informal format reminiscent of the salon recitals of the 19th Century. That period was the heyday of piano composition, and much of the music debuted in the private homes of the aristocratic intelligentsia. Stepankowsky and his Longview piano teacher, Martin Kauble, will discuss the background and nature of each of the six pieces on the program.
Family responsibilities kept him away from the keyboard for several years, but Stepankowsky, now 66, always knew he would return to the instrument he has loved since he began studying at age 11.
“These recitals are my own little way of sharing my passion for classical music and keeping the flame of the world’s greatest music burning,” Stepankowsky notes.
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The recital has a dual purpose for Stepankowsky, because he also is a volunteer at Family Promise of Cowlitz County, which will receive all donations raised by the piano performance.
“Family Promise is remodeling our family center in Kelso to restore its capacity to four guest families. The recital proceeds will go to help with the remodel costs,” said Lisa Staudinger, director of the Church-based homeless program that partners with the local faith community.
“We have been struggling with lost guest capacity since the beginning of the pandemic, when guests could no longer stay at our partner congregations. The family center building is very old, and most spaces don’t pass fire code for overnight occupancy,” Staudinger said. “So, we could only shelter two or three families. The remodel was not in our budget for this year, so we are deeply grateful to Andre for donating this recital’s proceeds to this project. We are excited to get back to four-guest-family capacity.”
“Andre’s not just using his hands to play piano and raise money for the project,” Staudinger noted. “He also plans to do the framing of new walls and has committed to donating some of the materials as well. We’re so impressed with that kind of commitment.”
To tune into the recital, go to the Martin Kauble Piano Studio on YouTube, then select the Stepankowsky recital from the menu.
Donations to Family Promise can be made through the organization’s website — www.FPCowlitz.org — and clicking on the yellow donate button at the top right of the screen.
The recital features six pieces. In order of performance, they are the Nocturne in C Sharp Minor by Frederic Chopin, Traumeri (Reverie) from Scenes from Childhood by Robert Schumann, the Impromptu in E flat Major by Franz Schubert, the Consolation No. 3 by Franz Liszt, La Plus Que Lente (“A bit more of slow”) by Claude Debussy and The Wedding Day at Troldhaugen by Edvard Greig.