Monmouth University Presents Kids On Keys & Dueling Pianos To Benefit Autism Awareness
“Stormin’ Norman” Seldin is a genuine local legend; one whose impact on the Jersey Shore’s homegrown music scene cannot be overstated. Having staked out a career as a singer, songwriter, musician, bandleader, promoter and record label owner when he was still in his teens, Seldin has performed for audiences up and down the East Coast for more than 50 years — laying much of the groundwork for what would come to be known as the Sound of Asbury Park (SOAP), becoming the youngest member of the American Federation of Musicians at the age of thirteen, and along the way introducing listeners to a big young talent by the name of Clarence Clemons.
Stormin’ Norman will take the bench at the Steinway and Sons Model D (furnished for the occasion by Jacobs Music of Lawrenceville) for a soulful set of originals and classic covers drawn from his decades-spanning career and encyclopedic musical memory.
As a special treat, he’ll be joined by a fellow Shore area favorite entertainer — pianist, vocalist and ace accompanist Vance Villastrigo — for a set-within-a-set that could only be called “Dueling Pianos.”
The show will also feature the talents of Taksh Gupta, Elizabeth Williams and Andy Milsten, whose collective credits include winning Steinway competitions and Golden Key Awards, appearing at the Merkin Concert Hall, Carnegie Hall, and at the Musikverein with renowned pianist Lang Lang.
14-year-old Andy Milsten was diagnosed as being on the Autism Spectrum at age three. He has had a variety of interests in his 14 years, with his latest passion being music. In the 4th grade, Milsten first expressed his desire to play the trumpet, and in the 7th grade, he became interested in the music of John Williams. He listened to all of Williams’ movie themes on YouTube, and tried to play the themes on his trumpet and then on the keyboard. He then developed a love of Beethoven, and taught himself “Für Elise” on the piano with a little help from YouTube.
Milsten was accepted into the New York Symphony Orchestra last summer. He has since taught himself Beethoven’s “Pathétique Sonata,” and has been practicing works by Mozart and Chopin. Milsten has also expanded his interest beyond the classical genre – with a little Billy Joel.
9-year-old Taksh Gupta started participating in piano competitions at age five and has won several awards in the last four years. Gupta is a two-time first prize-winner of the NJMTA Fall Young Musicians Competition, a three-time High Honors recipient at NJMTA Spring Audition, and much more. He has performed at venues including the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York, Rutgers University, Rider University and Stockton University. Music has always been a big part of his Gupta’s life, and he enjoys listening to classical, jazz and Indian music. Taksh is committed to helping society through his music by taking part in fundraising events, like Children Helping Children Performathons to support Ronald McDonald House. He has also performed for local nursing homes.
Capping off the concert, ticketholders will be able to see Steinway & Sons “Spirio” Grand Piano in action. The Steinway & Sons Spirio is the world’s finest high-resolution player piano. Amasterpiece of artistry and engineering Spirio will play pieces from Vladimir Horowitz, Lang Lang, and George Gershwin live to the audience. Frank DiCopoulos will emcee the event.
Tickets are $25 and $35 for adults, and $10 for students. For tickets, please call the Monmouth University Box Office at 732-263-6889, or go online to www.monmouth.edu/mca.