I’m still feeling a thrill after seeing 19-year-old classical pianist Drew Petersen perform pieces by Beethoven, Chopin and Samuel Barber on Saturday evening at a concert sponsored by the Friends of the Montauk Library. Though I hinted I’d like company for this extraordinary event, my friends are inundated with hectic summer schedules, including my husband, Don. I hastened on foot to the library. Summer traffic is scary for pedestrians. For the last leg I walked on the wrong side of the road, which seemed safer than crossing Montauk Highway twice in drifting fog.I had the pleasure of sitting with Edna Steck at the concert. She entertained me by describing how as a young bride, new to Montauk, she prepared lobster salad for Montauk Community Church summer dinners. Both of us not being tall, we took seats near the aisle. The Suzanne Koch Gosman room filled to about 85 people. I regret we didn’t take seats on the left where we would have been better able to see Mr. Petersen’s miraculous fingers effortlessly fly, so it seemed, up and down the keys.
I’ve been exposed to classical piano via recordings and been to a few piano concerts, both at the library and at Community Church. Yet seeing Mr. Petersen was a revelation. The most incredible part is Mr. Petersen is only 19. A tall, dark haired handsome fellow with an intense presence, he didn’t speak a word until the performance ended. Afterward, he submitted to a question-and-answer session. A woman asked how he gets to that “other place” where he seems to be while performing. He said he’s in no such other place. During performances he must focus more in the present than at any other times in his life, and this takes tremendous mental preparation and concentration, according to Mr. Petersen.
He performed roughly one and a half hours of complex compositions without printed music. It seemed to both Ms. Steck and me that at times his eyes were almost or completely closed as he played. It’s not often one has the chance to witness true genius.
Concerts at the Montauk Library are always special. Today, Wednesday, July 17, at 7:30 p.m. the Friends present another free concert, “Canciones de Amor—Love Songs from Spain and South America,” performed by Camile Ortiz-Lafont, soprano, with Francisco Roldán on guitar. On Wednesday, July 24, at 7:30 p.m. vocalist Rhonda Denét, returns to the library with the Silver Fox Songs Trio to perform more jazz standards and soul classics from the ’30s through the ’60s. This is a return engagement. See you there!
Happy birthday this week to Pastor Bill Hoffmann’s, as he says, “better half,” Val Hoffmann. Both halves of this team at the Community Church are terrific. Val’s thoughtful contributions during services often make it easier for me to see that path toward which we all strive.
Montauk is an incredibly busy place this summer, and I’ve researched upcoming activities for you in and around town:
If they can “bake it, catch it or grow it” you can buy it at the Montauk Farmers Market. The market is hosted by the Montauk Chamber of Commerce every Thursday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the green. Proceeds benefit the Montauk Food Pantry.
The East Hampton Trails Preservation Society has hikes in Montauk this week. Today, Wednesday, July 17, starting at 9 a.m., there’s a spiritually refreshing 2.6-mile-hike of the Shadmoor bluffs. Meet in Shadmoor State Park parking area off Montauk Highway about a half mile east of Montauk Village. Hike leader Eva Moore can be reached at 238-5134.
Meet at Montauk Recycling Center parking area on the north side of Route 27, Saturday, July 20, at 8:30 a.m. for a four-mile Hither Woods exercise hike. This fast-paced hike through beautiful woods to a bluff-top view of Fort Pond Bay starts and ends early. Bring water and don’t forget bug repellent. Rick Whalen leads this hike. Phone him at (631)-267-6608 or (631)-275-8539. Visit www.ehtps.org/hikeschedule for more local hike listings.
Presented by the Montauk Chamber of Commerce on Sunday, July 21, from 6 to 9 p.m., Taste of Montauk at 360° East at Montauk Downs State Park will be a celebration of Montauk restaurants. Enjoy culinary bites, Long Island wines, local beer and live music by Ocean Dream. Tickets are $55 per person, or $65 at the door. For more information and a list of participating restaurants and wineries, visit www.montaukchamber.com or call the chamber at 668-2428. Also at 360° East at the Downs, Margarita Madness is held every Thursdays starting at 6 p.m., including Soul Junkies jamming live music this week.
On Sunday at 6 p.m., there’s a concert at Gosman’s Dockside stage, featuring Mamalee Rose and Friends. Bring your beach chairs for this free event hosted by Gosman’s Restaurant.
Free Concerts on the green continue on Monday, July 23, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. with folk singer and songwriter Caroline Doctorow and the Steamrollers performing homegrown folk rock.
Family Fest continues next week with Sergei Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf,” Thursday, July 25, at 7 p.m. Children and music lovers of all ages will delight in this FamilyFest tradition performed by dancers of the Hampton Ballet Theatre School and Hamptons Festival Orchestra, along with a celebrity guest narrator, to be announced. Each of the story’s characters is represented by a musical instrument. FamilyFest is sponsored by Sole East with this event sponsored as well by the Kiwanis Club of East Hampton. The orchestra is underwritten by Mon Tiki sailing catamaran.
The Montauk Playhouse Association invites the community to “Get wet for a good cause” at this year’s Ocean Swim Challenge on Saturday, July 27. Register now to participate in one of three distances: 1/2-mile, 1-mile, or 2-mile. The staggered races start at three different popular Montauk beaches and end at Ditch Plain. In its fifth year, the challenge has become a premier ocean swim event in the Northeast. Registration is open at www.active.com (keyword Montauk Swim.) Fees are $35 for adults and $25 for those under 18. Specific swim start locations to follow in next week’s column. For more information, call (631) 668-1124 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Montauk’s first satellite tag and all-release fishing tournament, Shark’s Eye, hosted by Montauk Marine Basin is a two-day festival for sport, science, conservation and education on Saturday and Sunday, July 27 and 28. Some of the foremost research scientists in the country will come to Montauk joined by country music singer Colton James and folk singer Caroline Doctorow. It’s all to promote better understanding of the work being done to bring back large sharks and other species that once flourished in our waters. Profits from the event go to the Montauk Boatmen, Montauk School, the Montauk Chamber of Commerce and the Concerned Citizens of Montauk. For more information on Shark’s Eye contact Carl Darenberg at email@example.com, call 668-5900, or visit www.sharkseyetournament.com.
The Montauk Playhouse Community Center will have its annual Diamond in the Rough benefit on August 3 from 7 to 11 p.m. This event has truly become Montauk’s party of the year and takes place under a grand tent on the Playhouse grounds. It features a lively cocktail hour, live music, silent and live auctions, dinner and dancing.
Participate in this special evening through the purchase of tickets or a table, auction item donations or event sponsorship. With the proposed groundbreaking for the first floor Aquatic Center and community rooms slated for 2014, and a fundraising goal of $5 million needed to begin construction, now more than ever, the center needs the community to show its support. The gala generates terrific community spirit for a wonderful cause. Tickets start at the bronze level at $250 each, with higher levels of sponsorship available. If you have questions about the event, please contact gala director Rori Finazzo at (631) 291-6381, visit firstname.lastname@example.org, call MPCCF project director Maureen Rutkowski at (631) 668-1124 or email her at admin@ montaukplayhouse.org .