Sanford Jones' annual piano concert will take place Jan. 26, and music lovers are in for a treat.
Jones has been performing these recitals for 10 years, in addition to traveling the country with his wife and collaborator, Judy Jones, to present their children's operas to a dozen Montessori schools. Jones is also the composer of 13 children's operas and many songbooks and educational materials used in Montessori classrooms worldwide.
"I program music that I believe to be appealing to the audience upon first hearing, and I am especially eager to present 'Sonata No. 19,' one of the early sonatas of Franz Josef Haydn - one of the leading composers of the Classical Era - along with Mozart," Jones said of this year's performance. "In contrast to the classical style, I will play 10 of the Chopin preludes - little gems from the romantic era."
He will also play pieces from the "Woodlands" sketches by American composer Edward MacDowell.
To open, Jones said he will start with "Meditation" from the opera "Thais" by Massenet and close with "Wedding Day at Troldhaugen."
Although performing is obviously a joy for Jones, what brings him even more happiness is his work through Youth Opera International.
This foundation is dedicated to promoting the theater arts, and the couple accomplishes this goal "through the creation and performance of opera productions, seminars in teaching music and movement, and the dissemination of related educational materials."
And he said the reaction has been very positive since launching in 2010.
Those who take part in these opera workshops "keep telling us they make a lasting impression on young lives, giving them heightened self-confidence and goal-oriented focus. It also brings whole school communities - children, parents and staff - together in a productive and joyful event," Jones said.
He added that many of these schools have made these opera workshops annual events or part of their summer programming.
For 2014, Jones and his wife will be performing children's operas in Bermuda, California, Florida, Georgia and Illinois.
"In addition," Jones said, "We will making presentations at workshops and national conferences in Washington, D.C., Dallas and Chicago."
They also plan to create a new publication for Montessori teachers "on the subject of music and movement for young children and a new songbook of original songs for holidays, and are in the pre-production stages of a new film for teachers about how to incorporate more of the arts in the classroom today.
"Having just returned from making a presentation in Moscow, Russia, we are exploring a proposal we received to work in China," he said.
Jones grew up in a musical family, surrounded by pianists and singers, and he started studying piano when he was 6 years old.
"At 16, I became the church choir director and went on to study music at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, N.J.," he said.
By the time he was 19, he was a member of the Westminster Choir, and his most memorable show to date also occurred that year.
"We were invited to perform for President and Mrs. Eisenhower. I had the opportunity to accompany the choir on the white and gold grand piano in the White House ballroom," Jones said.
Jones' music education was shaped by this time at Westminster Choir College, as well as studying at Rutgers University and Roanoke College. He went on to teach at Westminster and later The New School for Music Study.
"Savannah is a veritable banquet of musical offerings of every genre," Jones said of the city's music scene.
"My personal preferences include symphonic and choral concerts, piano and vocal recitals and Broadway musicals. I have especially enjoyed during the last year the VOICExperience headed by Sherrill Milnes and Maria Zouves, the Vienna Boys Choir, the opera and ballet offerings on the big screen live from New York, London, Paris and Moscow."