The Studio of Piano Fine Arts, located in Harlan, Kentucky, is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year. Founded in 1980 by Clara Atkins-Pope, the studio has been a functioning school of music for the past 35 years.
Offering private and group lessons in piano, voice, violin, guitar, Celtic harp, flute and many other folk instruments, the studio has supported the musical education of many outstanding students, several of whom have continued with advanced degrees in music, and in many cases are making careers in this field.
Among these rare talents have been Jordan Smith (voice, Lee University and “The Voice”), Betsy Burkhart (band/University of Kentucky), Kim Wills Lewis (voice, ETSU), Kelly Wills (piano, ETSU), Justin Taylor (guitar/piano, University of Kentucky), Marybeth Harris Christman (voice, University of Louisville) Will Johnson (organ, Centre College), Sean Greene (piano, Eastern Kentucky University), Ashley Wilson (piano/clarinet, Eastern Kentucky University), Ryland Pope (voice, Georgetown College and the University of Tennessee), Katie Clark (violin, Morehead State University) and many others. Most of these extraordinary musicians began with piano or violin lessons at the Studio of Piano Fine Arts, and blossomed into their school curriculum bands and choirs, leading them into their baccalaureate and masters studies.
The 35th anniversary winter recitals will be held on Dec. 12 at the Southeast Kentucky Community & Technical College Harlan campus auditorium. Master Instructor Clara Atkins-Pope will present students at the 5:30 p.m. recital. Professor Ryland Pope will present students at the 7:30 p.m. recital.
Guest artists will be Sunrise Ridge Bluegrass Band, featuring Shawn Stamper (guitar/vocals), Whitney Stamper (bass/harmony), Jack Adams (banjo), Taylin Combs (guitar/vocals) and Natalie Tomlinson (fiddle), at the 5:30 p.m. recital. Sunrise Ridge will continue their lively performances during the interlude between recitals, welcoming new guests as they arrive. At the 7:30 p.m. recital, guest artist Marybeth Christman will perform a solo work from the Broadway musical “Ragtime” titled, “Your Daddy’s Son” and also a duo from the same work with Ryland Pope, titled, “Wheels of a Dream.”
Students performing in the 5:30 p.m. recital are: Ade Akisanya, piano and violin; Mareesa Ahmad, piano; Emma Eversole, piano and violin; Emily Tant, guitar and piano; Laura Ringstaff, voice and violin; Tess Bryson, violin; Theresa Lewis, piano; Breonna Rhymer, piano; Edmund Dye, voice and piano; Adeline Allison, piano; Shane Lindsey, piano; Sayad Damaa, violin; Natalie Tomlinson, fiddle; Emma Rich, piano; Carley Thomas, piano; Sebastian Mosely, violin; and Julianna Damaa, piano.
Students that are currently scheduled to perform at the 7:30 p.m. recital are: Meg Brock, voice; Eliza Smith, piano and voice; Ben Lewis, piano; Addison Lemar, piano; Benjamin Smith, piano; Caleb Ashley, piano; Gwendalyn Toll, piano; Layla Jones, piano; Laura Smith, voice; Makenna Doss, piano; Maleah Doss, piano; Audrey Goss, piano; Preston Lewis, piano; Braxton Fannin, voice and monologue; Drew Burnette, voice; Anna Lawson, piano; Savannah Hill, piano; Marissa Marlowe, piano; McKenzie Crider, piano; and Kenton Hensley, piano.
Student performance times are subject to change. For questions about the Studio of Piano Fine Arts’ winter recital, call the Studio at 606-573-4994. Admission to the recitals is $10 adults; no charge, students and children under 18.
Clara Atkins-Pope is master instructor at the Studio of Piano Fine Arts, Inc. A graduate of Centre College, Clara was a music major, and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Centre. She has been a recognized artist by the Kentucky Arts Council, and has been the recipient of two Individual artist grants, awarded by KAC.
In addition to teaching piano, violin, guitar, harp and flute at the studio, Clara serves the Harlan Independent School District as assistant director/accompanist for the Harlan Musettes and Harlan Middle School Choir. With the Harlan Elementary Choir, she serves as piano accompanist, and works alongside Marilyn Schraeder as substitute piano accompanist for the Harlan Boys Choir, under the direction of Mary Beth Christman. She also serves as accompanist for the Southeast Kentucky Community & Technical College Choir, working with director, Ann Schertz.
Clara founded The Pleasant Mountains Music Festival, which provided arts programming for children and adults for over 20 years. She also cofounded The Pleasant Mountains Performing Arts & Artists’ Association, Inc., which provided arts programming and music scholarships to students for many years.
Ryland Pope is the master instructor with Southern Lyric Works. He is a graduate of Georgetown College, with a music major, and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from this institution. From the University of Tennessee, Ryland completed graduate studies, and holds a Master of Music degree.
His performance credits are many. With the Knoxville Opera, he has performed Prince Yamadori from Madama Butterfly and Fiorella, from Il barbiere di Siviglia. With Highlands Light Opera, Ryland has performed Pirate King, from Pirates of Penzance. With the University of Tennessee Opera Theatre, Ryland has performed Sid, from Albert Herring, and Belcore, from L’Elisir d’amore. With Georgetown College Lyric Theatre Society, Ryland has performed Peter, from Hansel and Gretel and Conte Robinson, from Il matrimonio segreto. With Maskrafters, Georgetown College’s Theatre Group, Ryland performed the lead role Georg Nowack, from She Loves Me.
Ryland is currently an adjunct professor of voice at Georgetown College, and is growing his business, Southern Lyric Works in central Kentucky. He is thrilled with his opportunity to serve the children of Harlan, Leslie and surrounding counties, through his music instruction at the Studio of Piano Fine Arts, Inc.
For more information about the Studio of Piano Fine Arts and its teachers, visit the Facebook page Studio of Piano Fine Arts and www.pmpublishing.net. The studio may be contacted directly at 606-573-4994, [email protected] or [email protected]