Acclaimed pianist Timothy Reed performed his show of family friendly music, stories and skits on Nov. 11 at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater.
Awaiting Reed’s imminent arrival, the audience was brimming with anticipation. When Reed arrived through a door off stage, the crowd exploded with applause. Reed began by introducing his album “Sit Back and Relax,” which features slow piano works before performing Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata.”
Reed also demonstrated his singing abilities with his rendition of “Carried Away” from the musical “On the Town.”
The Bloomington-based pianist is currently writing and producing a movie musical called “Childrenopolis,” which is about a utopian society of children from around the world who live in the hollow of the earth. Throughout the night, he performed multiple songs from its music score including “Under the Rainbow,” which is a retelling of the hit song, “Over the Rainbow” from “The Wizard of Oz.”
He also performed “For Once in my Life” and shared a video of the behind-the-scenes recording of the song “Our Time is Overdue,” both from “Childrenopolis.”
In between performances, Reed recounted tales from his life and travels to the audience. In one story, he detailed his time working on the “slime line,” which involves taking the membranes off fish, at a fish cannery in Alaska.
He also performed a few pieces from his album “Euphoric Owls,” which features the Brown Sisters, three of his former students, in works such as “Solo piano” and “Piano with Ethereal Voices.”
Throughout the show, there were opportunities for the audience members to get involved. When he requested the audience to snap their fingers along to the theme song of the television show “Pink Panther,” older and younger audience members alike snapped along to the iconic tune.
After a quick one-man-skit about a cocktail pianist and patron, Reed mentioned he’s working on a children’s book. The book is about his father’s favorite cow when Reed was growing up, Cleo — who happens to be named after Reed’s great-aunt Cleo—and he hopes to finish writing it within the next few months.
The lead into his next song was another story about his time in Alaska, particularly his experience seeing the Northern Lights. He then played “Clair De Lune,” the popular classical piece by French composer Claude Debussy.
When playing another song from “Childrenopolis” called “Looking as Good as New,” 8-year-old Madeleine Arany, one of Reed’s piano and voice students, surprised the audience by joining him on stage and singing with him for the remainder of the composition. She also sang “Tomorrow” from the musical “Annie.”
Following a 30-minute intermission, Reed played two classical duets with a pianist, Sam Sutliff, from the Jacobs School of Music. The first was by Nadia Boulanger and sung in French, while the second was a musical rendition of “The Lord’s Prayer.”
Greg Williams, a resident of Indianapolis who came to see the show, was glad to hear news of Reed’s movie musical.
“Very excited to see something from Childrenopolis still in development,” he said.
A flutist and student at the Jacobs School of Music, Graeme Sugden, joined Reed on stage for a moving performance of a piece that Reed had written after he got the news his father wasn’t going to live for much longer. Accompanying the beautiful performance, the projector displayed images of his father’s life on the screen.
With the show wrapping up, Reed had five members of the IU Ballet Company perform a piece from “Euphoric Owls” called “Twilight,” even having Arany join in one last time.
After showing the music video to his song “Falling in Love in the Fall,” and playing one last song from “Childrenopolis,” titled “The Holidays are Finally Here,” Reed closed the evening with a performance of “Malaguena” by Ernesto Lecuona.
The performance was well-received by the audience, which ranged from students to people who traveled to Bloomington just to see Reed.
Iva Nasr, an Indianapolis resident and long-time friend of Reed, traveled to the Buskirk-Chumley to see Reed’s show.
“What I loved seeing was knowing Tim as a friend and off stage, how he was able to bring in his signature artistry,” Nasr said.
IU freshman Maddie Thomason decided to go along with a friend to the show last minute.
“Madeleine was my favorite part — she killed it and had such stage presence,” she said.
But not everyone found it easy to pick out a favorite.
“I refuse to pick just one favorite part,” Nasr said.