Sanctuary Series to open with pianist

John Mortensen can play classical, jazz and more.

It’s not often a concert will mix the music of classical composer Sergei Rachmaninoff and jazz on the same program.

Just call pianist John Mortensen versatile like that.

Mortensen opens the ninth season of High Street United Methodist Church’s Sanctuary Series at 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 11.

This is the first of a series of nine monthly concerts. There is no admission fee, but free-will offerings will be accepted to support the series.

Mortensen is a recurring performer in the Sanctuary Series, and J. Chris Moore, High Street’s musical director of Traditional Worship, said he was a natural to bring back.

“John is not only a wonderful musician, but a great educator and entertainer,” Moore said. “ He connects really well with our audience, who come away feeling like they have heard good music, had a good time and learned a little something along the way.”

Mortensen has also performed locally at the Springfield Symphony Orchestra’s Lunch on the Lawn series and other venues. As versatile as the music he plays, Mortensen also plays in a jazz trio and in an Irish band.

When not performing, Mortensen is teaching music as a professor of piano and director of the piano program at Cedarville University.

Following the performance, the audience is invited to participate in a meet-the-artist reception with Mortensen in the church commons.

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Contact this contributing writer at bturner004@woh.rr.com.

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