Young and old in concert in Nahant

May 15, 2017

COURTESY PHOTO
Music teacher Paul Kelly plays the piano, surrounded by Johnson Elementary School fifth-grade students.

By DALIA SHILAS

NAHANT — Nahant residents old and young were brought together to appreciate music at the Ellingwood Chapel for the first Seniors and Kids Concert.

In the all-stone chapel, which sits on top of the small hill in the Greenlawn Cemetery, fifth graders from the Johnson Elementary School and their grandparents gathered for the event last week. It was sponsored by the Johnson Elementary School and the Council on Aging, and funded by the Nahant Cultural Council and Historical Society.

The purpose of the event, which Superintendent Tony Pierantozzi said he hoped would become a tradition, is to have young people and senior citizens share time together while listening to music and learning about composers and performers.

“As a senior myself, I had become increasingly aware of how I and others my age come to see kids differently than we did when we were younger and busier,” said Jim Walsh, who served as master of ceremonies. “Frankly, these kids become increasingly beautiful. Their beauty is exceptional when you are not near them on a daily or weekly basis.

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“I think the program was accessible and engaging,” Walsh said. “There was pleasure in each piece and each contained some unique quality, providing variety and substance. Tomorrow the kids might remember the playfulness of Chico Marx, but 10 to 30 years from now it might be the Beethoven or Grieg.”

Pianist Vytas J. Baksys performed pieces from “Wedding Day at Troldhaugen,” by Edvard Hagerup Grieg and “Un Petit Train De Plaisir,” by Gioachino Rossini to a riff on “Chopsticks.” At the center of the program was “Moonlight Sonata,” by Ludwig van Beethoven.

Baksys, who is of Lithuanian descent, is a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music and the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He frequently performs with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Pops. He has been the faculty pianist with the Fellowship Conducting Program at Tanglewood since 1989.

“It was a pleasure to see all those bright, young faces eager to experience something new,” said Walsh. “I know I shared the happiness of other grandparents just observing and being in the presence of those delightful kids.”