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Mark Hayes, pianist, composer, arranger and conductor, plays piano at Bick on Saturday, June 29. Hayes performed several pieces during the concert which includes "Every time I feel the Spirit" and "I've Got Peace Like a River". Salehin Mahbub photo-editor

Piano Festival brings in international composer Mark Hayes

Pittsburg’s Treble Clef Club teamed up with the Bicknell Center and brought concert pianist, composer, conductor, and arranger, Mark Hayes. He performed at the Bicknell Center for the third annual Premier Piano Festival Saturday June 29th 

“I started when I was thirteen playing in church and I’m sixty-six so fifty years easily, I really just, I’m more of an arranger and composer but because I studied piano in college, I get to perform the things I do so a lot of times when I do a weekend thing I’m actually up conducting a choir singing my music but this was such a fun chance to come down here I thought I’ll do a piano concert,” Hayes said. 

Hayes performed a total of fifteen songs with a rhythm section and an intermission halfway through.  

“Normally, I don’t play with a rhythm section. I just play by myself but in order to make it worth their time, I kind of played songs in a jazz style. We just met for the first time earlier today for a couple hours and they put it together because they’re professionals,” Hayes said. 

The rhythm section was a group from the Pittsburg area who met Hayes earlier that day to go over the music for the performance that night.  

“I think it’s great and I think it’s great with all of them, to have a pick-up group like that and be that tight and cohesive having just met tonight,” said Gene Vollen, community member of Pittsburg as well as a member of the Treble Clef Club. 

With the fifteen songs Hayes performed, he performed a combination of original pieces as well as other arrangements.  

“I probably did about three or four original pieces and the rest were arrangements of existing music…” Hayes said“…I have a CD called Well Tempered Jazz that’s… spirituals and other songs, and there’s a few songs on there that are original jazz, old fashioned and some is more contemporary pop so I decided to do basically all of the music on that CD and add a few others so that it worked with the rhythm section,” 

The Treble Clef Club arranged the piano concert as well as other piano concerts in the week.  

“Most of us here that are pianists have played his music for years… so my friend and I were talking and she says, ‘Well you know he lives in Kansas City,’ and I was like ‘Well, you know, I’m going to call him and I just called him and I thought he can either say no or yes and he said yes and we were really excited by that,” said Janis Saket, executive director of the Piano Festival. 

The Treble Clef Club has put on the Piano Festival for three years now and each year find a new pianist to bring to Pittsburg. 

“I like good jazz and I like what he does with church music and turns it into jazz,” Vollen said. 

Community members as well as those from surrounding communities attended to hear Hayes perform, many had heard of him or had played his music before.  

“My piano teacher told me last evening. I like Mark Hayes music, I have several of his books and I’ve used it in church,” said Peggy Wintjen, community member of Coffeyville. 

Hayes also had a table of his books and CD’s available for those in attendance to purchase. 

“I kind of call it our field of dreams.’ We have this and this was our dream and now people come and we’re getting really good names obviously and it’s really exciting, it’s building. I’m the biggest fan of everybody we hear, and I think it’s going to continue,” Saket said. 

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