Piano Recital In Village Was Lots Of ‘Phun’
(reprinted from Ridgewood News, January 20, 2001)

A standing room only audience of 230 parents, relatives and friends rose in unison to applaud the 50 pianists who had entertained them at the annual Phred Piano Expression holiday recital held at the Unitarian Society in Ridgewood. There were balloons, food, refreshments, a number of awards and even two mystery guest artists, but it was the music coming from the Steinway that stole the show.

Brendan Berger of Midland Park looking totally professional in his black tuxedo, played a confidant and crisp Try It. Robert and David Cunningham of Ridgewood, performing in their first recital, were uncommonly steady with Ode to Joy and Hiking, respectively. The brothers Cunningham were the recipients of the Most Consistent Player’s award. Stephan McNamara of Ridgewood won the Hardest Worker award and thrilled the audience with his classic version of Minuet.

“My family and I thoroughly enjoyed the recital because it was so well done,” said Tricia McNamara, Stephen’s mother. “The music was well performed and we were all very proud of Stephen. The event inspired us to go home and fight over the piano. My 76-year-old father immediately sat down at the keyboard and began trying to sound out many of the pieces he had heard. We spent the rest of the day making music together. I love the Phred method and our teacher, Jody.”

Brittany Rose Kitchen of Glen Rock, looked lovely and played beautifully. Her rendition of Walking in the Air delighted the audience.

Jennifer Cortright, a 12-year-old from Ridgewood, played a rather hip version of Auld Lang Syne. “Jennifer almost backed out at the last minute, said Eileen Cortright of her daughter. “But now that it’s over and she played so well, she’s very glad she did it.”

Jody Sinkway, a popular Fun ‘N’ Easy piano course teacher, was again a special guest vocalist, delighting the audience with her rendition of Beautiful Things from Dr. Doolittle. Susan Davison of Ridgewood, one of nine adults who participated, seemed very comfortable with her pensive Hark, the Herald Angels Sing. And what would a Phred Piano Expression recital be without the Brennan Brothers of Ridgewood. James, 13 and Chris, 11, playing in their sixth recital, were outstanding with Prelude and Saber Dance, respectively.

“It was a great day,” continued McNamara. “We look forward to next year.”

Phred Piano Expression offers an innovative approach to piano. Lessons at the student’s home or at Phred’s studio in Hillsdale, are divided into three parts: touch, sight-reading and sound-logic. Goal of the program as taught by Phred and his fellow Fun ‘N” Easy instructors, is to make piano playing “phun.”

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