San Diego’s AmateurPianists returns to Solana Beach church for second annual concert fundraiser

By Kristina Houck

For the second consecutive year, eight amateur pianists will take the stage at a Solana Beach church to showcase their not-so-amateur talent.

Hosted by AmateurPianists, the night of classical piano music is set for July 26 at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Dieguito in Solana Beach.

“Bring family and friends — anyone who loves music,” said Glenn Kramer, founder and board chair of AmateurPianists. “It’s going to be a wonderful time.”

Based in North San Diego County, AmateurPianists is a membership organization for amateur pianists. Kramer established the group in 2011 so amateur pianists of all professions could have opportunities to perform in front of live audiences.

“As pianists, we spend hours and hours learning a piece, but we don’t have people to play for except our own friends and family,” Kramer said. “I thought it would be a wonderful idea for people who play piano to have the opportunity to play in front of audiences like the professionals do.”

Nearly 450 amateur pianists have joined the group since it launched three years ago. Membership is free, as are all events.

AmateurPianists has held a number of performances at a variety of venues, including recital halls, churches, public libraries and private residences. The group also offers lectures and master classes on performance practice, the history of classical music and more.

“We’re all amateurs, so people are really friendly and it’s not competitive,” Kramer said. “We want to nurture your confidence to perform for the public and share our love of music.”

This is the second year AmateurPianists is hosting a silent auction and piano recital in Solana Beach. Solana Beach resident Monique Kunewalder is among the eight pianists who are slated to perform, with the furthest coming from San Francisco.

Funds raised at the event will help the organization launch San Diego’s first international amateur piano competition, which would provide amateur pianists additional performing and networking opportunities, Kramer said. Currently, there are only about 10 amateur piano competitions in the world, he added.

About 75 people attended the concert fundraiser last year, which raised $800. Event organizers hope to double last year’s proceeds. A piano competition could cost $12,000 to $15,000 to cover the costs of the rental facility, equipment, judges and award money, Kramer noted.

“San Diego doesn’t have an amateur piano competition,” Kramer said. “We want to put San Diego on the map.”

The silent auction and piano recital takes place 1-4 p.m. July 26 at Founders’ Hall at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Dieguito, located at 1036 Solana Drive in Solana Beach. The event is free, but donations will be accepted.

For more information about AmateurPianists, or to RSVP or donate, visit amateurpianists.org.

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