This Week In Music, We Tickle The Ivories


It looks like Rim Country residents are in store for another wonderful musical treat next week.

This coming Wednesday, Jan. 26 at 7 p.m. in the newly remodeled Payson High School auditorium, the Tonto Community Concert Association will present Italian-born pianist and composer Cristiana Pegoraro. This will be her second appearance in Payson.

Critics have cited Pegoraro for her “passion, personality and creativity that push her beyond classical music.” She is recognized as “one of the best interpreters of Latin American composers and one of the most interesting composers of the newer generations.”

Unfortunately, Ann and I will be unable to attend next week’s concert — but that’s good news if you’re this week’s music trivia winner. If you’re caller number six and have the right answer to this week’s question, we’ll give you our tickets to the Cristiana Pegoraro concert.

Speaking of great pianists, without a doubt, my favorite country-pop pianist is Floyd Cramer. Cramer was really an interesting musician. He was born in Louisiana and raised in Arkansas. After returning in his early adult years to Louisiana and playing for the Louisiana Hayride Radio Show, he moved in 1955 to Nashville to further his musical career. The piano was just beginning to become popular in country music, and Cramer arrived at just the right moment. In a short amount of time he would play with legendary acts like Patsy Cline, Don Gibson and The Everly Brothers. Cramer’s playing is most notably heard on Elvis Presley’s first big hit, “Heartbreak Hotel.”

Without his legendary fingers, the Nashville music scene wouldn’t be what it is today. Cramer went on to play with guitar legend Chet Atkins and saxophonist Boots Randolph in the Million Dollar Band.

This week’s music trivia question is: In 1962, Cramer scored a huge hit on both Billboard’s pop and country charts. Was the title of this hit: A) First Date, B) Last Date, C) Double Date, or D) No Date?

Now, let’s see how we did with last week’s music trivia question, which was: In what movie did David Rose’s 1962 hit, “The Stripper” appear? A) The Gypsy, B) Lolita, C) The Days of Wine and Roses, or D) So Long, Pete, It’s Been Good to Know You?

The correct answer was The Gypsy, whose screenplay was based on the book of the 1959 stage musical Gypsy: A Musical Fable by Arthur Laurents, which was adapted from the book, Gypsy: A Memoir, by Gypsy Rose Lee. Lolita, starring Sue Lyon, and The Days of Wine and Roses, starring Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick, were also top 1962 movies.

Congratulations to last week’s first-time music trivia winner, Mari Janacek, who won a CD album of the top instrumental hits of the 1950s and ’60s.

A little about Mari. She was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wis. She and her husband, Jim, moved from the frigid Midwest to Scottsdale in 1986, then to Payson three years ago.

Mari’s story of how she met Jim is a heartwarming tale. She told me, “I’ve known Jim since we were both 12 years old. He was my brother’s best friend. One day at our house, when I was 16, I asked Jim if he would like a kiss (I had a chocolate Hershey’s Kiss hidden in my hand). “He said, ‘Sure!’

But when I opened my hand and he saw the foil-wrapped chocolate kiss, he quickly popped up and gave me the real thing. Until that moment in time, Jim had always told me that he had planned on living the life of a confirmed bachelor and I had envisioned myself as a nun. That kiss changed everything!”

Mari and Jim were soon off on their first double-date to the drive-in theater. I asked Mari if she remembered what movie they saw. She said, “No, I really don’t, but we did watch the movie, even though the couple in the back were necking like crazy!” Now married for 44 years, Mari describes Jim as “the perfect husband.”

Among Mari’s many interests are knitting, crocheting, volunteering for school and church activities, dancing around the house to ACDC’s “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” and “just being with Jim.”

She has recently found a new love in taking classes at Gila Community College. She told me, “I loved Roundup reporter Pete Aleshire’s writing course so much that I repeated the class three times! Now I’m taking a craft course — and who knows what is next?”

When it comes to music, Mari has quite an eclectic taste, which includes jazz, country, big band, rock ’n’ roll, gypsy and hard rock. Her three favorite artists are Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and Ricky Nelson.

I hope you’re enjoying this spectacular Rim Country winter weather!

DJ Craig — Phone: 468-1482

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