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Playing the classics with a Latin twist

POULSBO — A local parent and musician will try to uncode one of the piano’s trickiest puzzles this weekend.

Talman Welle will perform a piano concert on Sunday, March 16 that includes complicated numbers with Latin roots. The fund-raising event will benefit the North Kitsap High School choir’s upcoming trip to New York.

Welle will perform several challenging pieces for the show, including one that he calls one of the most difficult ever written.

That’s “Rudepoema” (“Rough Poem”) by Hector Villa-Lobos, a piece that mixes the rhythms of Latin America with the challenging harmonies of jazz.

“It’s just all over the piano,” said Welle, who first heard the piece while attending Central Washington University. “It’s not done much, because it’s so difficult.”

The song fits in with the theme of the evening, which concentrates on Latin American music.

“It will be a rhythmic, exciting kind of program,” said Welle, who is a faculty member at Olympic College.

His intense ivory tickling is aimed at helping more than 70 members of the choir take the trip to New York in mid-April in order to perform Mozart’s “Vespers” at Carnegie Hall.

The group will meet more than 150 choir members from around the world, and perform under the tutelage of well-known choir director Dr. Geoffry Boers.

NKHS choir teacher Sylvia Cauter said that Welle, whose daughter is a member of the choir and jazz ensemble, offered to give the concert despite a busy schedule.

“He offered. He wanted to do it,” she said.

Welle has been busy giving concerts, too. He recently completed his third in seven days, and quipped, “Today, I’m in recovery.”

The performance on Sunday will include a piece by Frederick Chopin, another piece that is a homage to Chopin by Villa-Lobos and several works by Argentina’s Alberto Ginastera, which showcase dance and folk elements of traditional Argentine music.

“They’re a lot of fun,” Welle said. “Audiences will get a kick out of it.”

Another fund-raiser is also approaching for the choir. The group will perform a candlelight serenade at 7:30 p.m. March 21 in the First Lutheran Christian Center.

It will be the last scheduled fund-raiser for the trip.

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