SAY “WELCOME TO THE HOLIDAYS” with “RAG” TIME PIANO
Provided by Nikki Price, Executive Director, Lincoln City Cultural Center
Bob Milne, the ragtime and boogie-woogie piano player that the Library of Congress has called a “National Treasure,” will help Lincoln City say “Welcome to the Holidays” on Friday, Nov. 4. Milne’s concert, which has become an annual treat for his local fans, will begin at 7 p.m. in the auditorium of the Lincoln City Cultural Center. Tickets for this event, which include refreshments and a no-host wine bar, are $15. To reserve yours, call the cultural center at 541-994-9994.
Milne’s supernatural ability to hear and play music goes back to his early childhood. He makes the statement, “I knew how to play a piano long before I ever started. Just push down the notes you hear and the instrument will play itself. Can’t everyone do this?” He considers either looking at music or practicing to be “cheating.”
A French horn player in high school, he went to the prestigious Eastman School of Music at the age of 17, and then became assistant first horn in the Rochester Philharmonic at age 19. After symphony concerts the students all went and hung out in local places. When the piano player didn’t show up at a sing-a-long saloon one night, Milne “filled in.” They hired him on the spot. He continued playing the horn until age 21, then became a full time piano player in the Detroit area, playing seven nights a week for 25 years.
He’s been touring around the world since 1991, playing everywhere from the Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival in Missouri to the Montreal Jazz Festival in Canada, and as a “musical ambassador with the U.S. State Department. He also teaches music and music history at Florida/Atlantic University every winter.
Fans of the National Public Radio program “Radiolab,” which explores the intersections of science and culture, may have heard their July segment on Milne. In it, a neurologist from Penn State used an fMRI machine to map the ragtime piano player’s brain, as she tested his ability to recall four symphonies – to the note — simultaneously. Needless to say, Milne can play ragtime, talk to the audience and crack jokes at the same time (to listen to the piece, click here. A comment often heard after his concerts: “Unbelievable.”
The Lincoln City Cultural Center offers performances, fine arts, art classes and visitor information inside the historic Delake School at 540 NE Hwy. 101. The center will be hosting events throughout November as part of Native American Heritage Month, as well as “An Evening in Granada” flamenco and guitar concert Nov. 5, and Brazilian jazz Nov. 19. Then, there’s “Holidays with Halie,” a jazz holiday concert with Halie Loren set for Dec. 3.
For details, call 541-994-9994, on line at www.lincolncity-culturalcenter.org.