Archived Story

World-renowned pianist returns for encore

Published 10:56am Thursday, September 5, 2013

Rebecca Davis has played piano all over the world. She has traveled to France, Spain, numerous places in the United States and several other locations as well.

But she gets just as nervous for a show at a Minnesota church as she did for any of those other performances over the years.

Davis will return to Zion Lutheran Church of Amor for a 3 p.m. recital Sept. 8. Davis has played at Zion Lutheran several times in the past and said she has always enjoyed the shows.

“Mabeth (Gyllstrom, the Zion Lutheran choir director) and the church have been a wonderful support and I’m very grateful for my association with them,” Davis said,

Davis began playing the piano at the age of 4, but discovered even before that her interest in the instrument. Both of her older sisters played piano and Davis would cry whenever they stopped playing. But as soon as they started up again, Davis has been told, she would stop crying.

After graduating from The Juilliard School, Davis said she lost of the joy of playing music and did not play piano for seven years. It was only when her husband bought a $250 upright piano that she played again.

That first time back on the bench, she said she played for 10 hours straight.

After growing up in Philadelphia and living in California, where she met her husband, Davis was looking to move to someplace smaller. Having always considered herself the outdoor type, Davis jumped at the opportunity to look at a house in Vergas despite never having been to Minnesota before. After vacationing there for several years and living there off-and-on, Davis and her husband moved to Vergas permanently six years ago and have not looked back since.

“I came, I saw, I was conquered,” Davis said. “I absolutely love it here. I even love the winters.”

Living in a much smaller community than Los Angeles, it would be fair to wonder if Davis has missed playing in bigger venues or being around a thriving arts scene. But she said she has many talented students to whom she gives private lessons. She also said she feels the audiences have not changed much at all from her earlier performing days.

“Human beings, I have seen with my own eyes, they respond to the arts and people giving of themselves,” Davis said. “When it comes down to it, music really transcends everything.”

Gyllstrom said Zion Lutheran is an appealing place for accomplished pianists like Davis to play in large part because they have a high-quality piano. The church sees many benefits from booking Davis to play every other year or so, which is why they keep inviting her back.

“You have to have a few connections,” Gyllstrom said of booking Davis. “We usually have a very good attendance and get a very good offering.”

But Davis has not had to forfeit all of her traveling since moving to Vergas. She is scheduled to travel to Buenos Aires, Munich and Rome in the next year to play shows. Davis said her career, which at one point after school she assumed was over forever, has been more than she could have ever imagined.

“It’s devine design,” Davis said. “It far exceeded my expectations and I’m just enjoying what I’m doing.”

The Sept. 8 recital will be free to the public, but donations will be accepted. Davis said she will be playing some pieces by Chopin, Beethoven and others, as well as a few surprises.

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