Concert will present debut of Schmidt’s new Christ

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    By AMY WARD

    New Age pianist Jon Schmidt will seek to sweep listeners into the Christmas season Friday in Kingsbury Hall during the concert debut of his new album “A Jon Schmidt Christmas.”

    Schmidt, who started playing the piano at around age six or seven, said that the creation of this album is the greatest experience in his musical career so far.

    “I felt inspired like I never had before,” he said.

    He had long had the desire to make a Christmas album and others had shown a lot of interest in his doing it, he said. However, it wasn’t until last Christmas that he decided to go ahead and do it.

    “I wanted to try to create something pure and sincere,” Schmidt said. “I always wanted to create a work that leaves people as moved as Handel’s ‘Messiah’,” he said.

    As for the concert, Schmidt will seek to put all of what Christmas means to him in the performance, he said.

    “I want everyone to have a lot of fun,” he said.

    In the concert, there will be some of the fun stuff typical to Schmidt’s performances, but Schmidt’s overriding goal is to uplift and edify the audience.

    “It will be a well-rounded experience,” he said.

    Schmidt explained his attitude about performing.

    “It’s sort of like being on a mission,” he said. “Even though you’ve presented a discussion over and over, each audience is new. It’s a spiritual experience; it’s a huge blessing.”

    Schmidt grew up in a family of musicians and gained performance experience early in life as he and his family gave small programs for church groups and others.

    His only teacher was his older sister who taught piano lessons in their home. “She was really accomplished,” he said.

    Schmidt began fiddling around with his own compositions when he was in sixth grade, but didn’t really write anything until he was in junior high.

    The inspiration for his music comes in many different ways, he said.

    “A lot of times it’s luck,” he said.

    Other times he’ll have a rhythm in his head which won’t leave until he has written a piece.

    “I’ve had songs come in a dream,” Schmidt said. “Other times I’ll try to think of an image,” he said.

    Sometimes it takes him a year to write a song and other times the music comes in a matter of minutes, he said.

    “A lot of times it’s really down to earth and un-romantic,” Schmidt said. “I need a creative spark from somewhere.”

    Originally, Schmidt didn’t plan on going into music as a career, but now he feels that, for the time being, it is what he is supposed to do.

    He also loves to teach piano and has about 30 to 40 students.

    “I’ll always teach,” he said. “It’s something I need.”

    Friday’s concert will begin at 8 p.m. Tickets are on sale at the Kingsbury Hall Ticket Office for $12, or from ArtTix, at 355-ARTS.

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