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Pianist pushes herself out of comfort zone

By MARGARET DWIGGINS
Family Editor
Mary Johnson is giving herself a 60th birthday present by pushing herself out of her comfort zone.
Johnson, of Findlay, who will turn 60 next week, will present a piano recital at 1:30 p.m. today in the sanctuary at St. Michael the Archangel Church, 750 Bright Road.
The recital will cap 20 years of studying and more than a year of preparation.
Johnson said beginning piano lessons at age 40 satisfied an itch to learn to play that she’d held since childhood.
She took private lessons from a studio in Perrysburg for several years before becoming a student of Anya Miller. Miller encourages her students to present a recital, something she calls a “life event” as it requires intense preparation.
Johnson will play 12 pieces, five of which she’s memorized. They will include selections from Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, Schubert and Debussy, as well as a contemporary piece, “The Year of the Cat,” which she said was a difficult piece to learn.
Johnson said Miller pushes her students to play something from several periods, including Baroque, classical and romantic.
She will also play three duets, one with her husband, Mark, one with Miller and a third with fellow student Dale DeVene.
Miller moved her studio from Bluffton to Westerville last year, and Johnson and DeVene travel to Westerville for lessons with her every other week. DeVene fulfilled a lifelong dream to present a recital a couple of years ago at the age of 80. It was after DeVene’s recital that Miller began to push Johnson to also present a recital.
“She encouraged me out of my comfort zone in doing this, I never imagined being ready,” Johnson said.
However, Johnson feels she is well prepared, saying today’s recital will be like taking a test that she knows she’s done all she can to prepare for.
The recital is open to the public. There is no cost to attend.
Dwiggins: 419-427-8477 Send an E-mail to Margaret Dwiggins

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a corrected version of this story.

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