The Southern Hills Art Council (SHAC) has recently launched a fund drive with the intent of securing money to purchase a hybrid piano for the Markay Cultural Arts Center.

With a goal to raise $10,000 in their sights, SHAC hopes to be more accommodating to performers that require a piano, and although a grand piano or baby grand piano would be ideal, the Markay does not have adequate space to house such a large instrument. The Markay does currently possess an upright piano stored in their gallery space, but it requires frequent, expensive maintenance to be regularly used.

With many organizations calling the Markay home, the cost to regularly tune and sustain the piano is not practical. For example, the D.M. Davis Choir holds roughly three performances a year -- three instances where movers and tuners are required to be hired. Additionally, SHAC has had no choice but to turn away artists in the past interested in performing at the Markay, artists that require a piano to do so; renting a piano for these performances is also an exorbitant expense that cannot be justified.

Once it obtains a proper piano, SHAC intends to host more solo artists, ensembles, pianists and classical musicians at the Markay for future performances. The instrument can also be used for educational purposes and will be incorporated into the Markay’s free youth events that appear throughout the year.

SHAC is currently collaborating with Teodora Owen to further its $10,000 goal. Teodora is a classically trained pianist from Romania with a passion for both music and community togetherness. She and her husband currently live in Jackson with their two children, but plan to move to Romania next year.

Until then, Teodora has agreed to help choose the appropriate piano for the Markay and is also helping SHAC create an online promotional campaign, during which she will utilize her own considerable musical talents. Through her support, she and SHAC hope to show others who automatically associate pianos with classical music that there is much more to the instrument itself and the people who use it. Teodora, particularly, says that the music we listen to should be akin to a well-balanced diet by having a lot of variety.

Several videos of Teodora and other talented Jackson musicians can be found on the Markay Cultural Arts Center’s Facebook page. If you would like to donate to this cause, please send a message to the theater or click the posted PayPal link to give what you are able. If you are unable to donate, the Markay asks that you like, comment on or share the beautiful music that is posted. In 2022, Teodora will be performing her own solo show at the Markay Cultural Arts Center on Saturday, March 12. On Friday, March 11, Taae Hamid of Ohio University, a young graduating pianist, will also perform.

SHAC hopes to have some fun with their goals and wishes to encourage people of all ages to expand their musical taste and support local musicians.