Young pianists usher in Ogden Farmer's Market

Sunday , July 13, 2014 - 7:26 AM

Standard-Examiner correspondent

OGDEN – A group of young pianists and their families enjoyed the opening of Ogden’s Farmer’s Market this season with a little street music. About 20 students from Whitney Cahoon’s “Cahoon Studios” performed just outside Lucky Slice Pizza Saturday afternoon as many passers-by stopped to take a listen.

Cahoon worked with Amir Jackson with the non-profit group “Nurture the Creative Mind” to make the event happen. Cahoon was thrilled with how the afternoon turned out. When working with Jackson, she set up the recital to coincide with the first day of the Farmer’s Market. “I thought it would be great for my students to have a chance to play for a bigger audience of people coming and going,” she said. Her idea worked. Crowds gathered to listen to the students play and upon each student’s song completion loud claps and cheers could be heard.

“I just love little kids playing,” said one passer-by. Another commented that they would just have to stop and listen rather than rush home. That is just what Jackson was hoping for. “So many kids are doing such great things in our community, but it’s in a silo and no one knows. Things like this let people know what great things kids can do,” Jackson said as he snapped pictures of the pianists.

Friends and family also lined the sidewalk, finding any spare shade to listen. Others stood in the streets with umbrellas, sipping on drinks.

Thirteen-year-old Kyleigh Durney loved the experience of playing outside. “I didn’t feel much pressure. It felt more natural, more casual,” Durney said. This is her second recital and she admits she liked this one a little better, but also feels more comfortable with the piano too. “It’s been a dream of mine since I was little,” Durney said of learning to play the piano. Durney’s mom, Dana Durney, liked the fun atmosphere as well. “I can see good things about both,” Dana said of the two different kinds of recitals.

Cahoon agrees. She also noticed that her students were relaxed. “There was no shaking or those blank stares,” she said. “It was a good change for them,” she added. She thinks both kinds of recitals are good for students, but would like to work with Nurture the Creative Mind to do a recital downtown again.

Jackson brought out a freshly tuned, brightly gold and brown painted piano about 20 minutes before the recital was to start. “It’s good for kids to know they can play on any type of piano,” Jackson said as he pointed to the brightly colored pianos along the street.

Jackson help put together an outdoor recital last summer and it was successful, so when he learned of Cahoon’s piano studio he wanted to try it again. “It has been absolutely successful,” Jackson said. “When I see kids with the smiles on their faces, feeling proud and empowered, now that’s a beautiful thing,” Jackson said.

Parent Danette Pulley praised the outdoor setting. “This helps kids connect to their community and downtown. Anything that helps them connect is a special thing,” Pulley added. “And these pianos are as unique as the children,” she said.

The recital was a cap to a packed opening day of the Ogden Farmer’s Market. Hundreds descended into downtown Ogden Saturday morning to taste treats, shop for unique art and get some of the season’s first pickings of the harvest. This is the first time Roy resident Dawn Nelson has come to the market, but said she would be back. “I love it. It’s awesome. I love that everything is local,” she said as she took a bite of bread and butter. “I love supporting the local,” she added.

A big crowd formed around Nathan Hall’s beehive – encased in glass. Hall’s business, Deseret Hive Supply, has seen great success at the market. He loves bringing his bees and showing crowds how they work and pointing out the queen. He also has a good camaraderie with other beekeepers at the area as they talk during market times. “I speak Spanish and I really love connecting with the Latino people. I love that they are involved in our community,” Hall said.

Great Harvest Bread owner Chris Zenger said the crowds were big for the first day of the market, but that he hopes organizers make better use of the space. He pointed out the parking spaces on 25th not being used because the road is blocked. “I hope they listen to us and we can fill this space,” Zenger said. He was happy with the turnout, though. “We sold of a lot of our stuff, which is really good,” he said.

The farmer’s market will continue every Saturday until the end of September. For more information on what’s available and times, check the website at .

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