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Learn, listen at piano and marimba performances this week

It's shaping up as a Rebecca Penneys weekend with the pianist giving a matched pair of recitals and a master class. Penneys, right, longtime professor of piano at the Eastman School of Music and former chair of the piano program at the Chautauqua Festival, is a St. Pete Beach resident and artist in residence at St. Petersburg College.

Her recitals, both with a program of Bartok (15 Hungarian Peasant Songs), Mozart (D-major Rondo), Ravel (Valses Nobles and Sentimentales) and Chopin (Sonata No. 3 in B minor), are at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the SPC Music Center, 6605 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg ($10); and 3 p.m. Sunday at Peace Memorial Church, 110 S Fort Harrison, Clearwater ($5 minimum).

Penneys gives a free master class from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the SPC Music Center. Pianists interested in playing may email her at

Last summer was Penney's 34th and final season at Chautauqua. Now she has a sequel in Florida, the Rebecca Penneys Piano Festival and Friends of Piano, to be held at USF July 21-Aug. 4. See

Marimba: Robert McCormick, music professor at USF, hosts a marimba festival this weekend at the school's concert hall on the Tampa campus. McCormick is a patron saint of percussion — with at least 25 CDs to his credit — and marimba players from around the U.S. and Canada come to his festival, which opens with a solo showcase at 7:30 p.m. Friday. A full day of marimba music starts at 9 a.m. Saturday, winding up with a recital by featured guest artist Aiyun Huang at 5:30 p.m. Free. See

Black history month: The Meeting, Jeff Stetson's play recounting a (fictional) 1965 encounter between Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, is performed by Bryant Bentley and Alan Bomar Jones at 7 p.m. Tuesday at American Stage in St. Petersburg. $10-$20. (727) 823-7529; Bentley and Jones are in the theater's current production of The Piano Lesson by August Wilson.

Ron Bobb-Semple is performing his one-man show The Spirit of Marcus Garvey at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday at Studio@620 in St. Petersburg. Bobb-Semple was the voice of the Jamaican revolutionary for the PBS special Marcus Garvey: Look for Me in the Whirlwind. $15. (727) 895-6620;

Coloratura: Reader John E. Smith chided me for misuse of "coloratura" in my review this week that discussed Stella Zambalis' outstanding performance in the title role of Tosca with St. Petersburg Opera. I was using the term as shorthand for a high soprano, but as Smith pointed out it actually refers to trills, ornamentation and rapid vocal lines. You don't really find these in Puccini's score for the prima donna, however spectacular her music is.

John Fleming can be reached at or (727) 893-8716.

Learn, listen at piano and marimba performances this week 02/06/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 5:50pm]
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