ADVANCING the mission | Steve & Connie Lyman

 

Talking about the thrill of competition, a Cole Porter lullaby and a tear-jerking take on the Beatles' Blackbird with American Pianists Association board chair Steve Lyman and his wife Connie

Steve & Connie Lyman with 2015 American Pianists Awards winner Sullivan Fortner

 

This story starts with a cold call. The pitch: we saw your home in Indianapolis Monthly magazine and think it would be a perfect place to have a party.

Thank goodness Steve and Connie Lyman kept listening!

 

Their first APA concert, hosted at the Lymans’ home, left an indelible impression upon them. That evening, Dan Tepfer, winner of the 2007 American Pianists Awards, played "Blackbird" by the Beatles as a jazz composition. “There was a moment when he played that brought several of us to tears—it was very powerful and moving,” recalls Connie.

Shares Steve, “we were totally blown away by the experience and by the wonderful people associated with the APA. We were invited to more APA events and were eventually asked to host one of the jazz Finalists, Jeremy Siskind for the 2011 jazz competition. That was Jeremy’s second competition, so he knew what he was in for during the competition. We didn't! “

According to Connie, the couple was a bit apprehensive about their guest, not knowing what to expect and wanting him to have everything needed to perform well in the competition. It turned out to be great:

The minute we heard him play, any reservations we had were immediately washed away. I remember it was nearly midnight and we were in bed listening to a Cole Porter tune he was practicing downstairs. So soothing, so hypnotic, it was like the best adult lullaby you could ever imagine. The next morning there he sat at our kitchen counter eating Cheerios and playing on his laptop, so relaxed and familiar that I immediately thought of him as one of the family.

Here, the Lymans share more about hosting Jeremy:

 

The Lymans continue to open their home to Jeremy during his frequent return trips to Indianapolis. Further, they expanded their “family” to include another finalist, Sullivan Fortner, who went on to win the 2015 American Pianists Awards. Steve and Connie compare their experiences with each artist:

Clearly, strong bonds were developed between these young American pianists and their hosts. Says Steve, “being on the stage of the Hilbert Circle Theater as Sullivan's name was announced was a major life event for me and, of course, for Sullivan.”

Connie agrees:

It’s a privilege to support such exceptional talent. They are all future Grammy winners, songwriters and Billboard names. To know that we might have been helpful boosting them to that level in their careers is thrilling!

Backing these young musicians through our donations to the APA gives them a huge and genuine leg up toward a successful career nationally and internationally. If you love music, if you love watching exceptional talent and you want to back a sure thing, then by all means, throw your support to the APA.

Of course not everyone is ready to host an APA event or pianist in their home. In part two of our interview with the Lymans, we discuss some additional social aspects of involvement with the American Pianists Association, great venues for piano performances and additional ways to get involved. Check back soon!

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