Pianists Ursula Baumann, of Switzerland, and Cheryl Baron, of Blair, will present a free concert at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 18, at Blair Congregational Church.
Longtime church member Paul Emmerich befriended Baumann in an online language school.
"She was interested in improving her English, and I was working on my German, and somehow our paths crossed," Emmerich said.
Baumann volunteered to perform at the church when she and her family planned a first-time visit to the U.S.
Baumann lives in the north of Switzerland at Neuhausen am Rheinfall. She was educated as a musician and works as a piano teacher at a youth music school in several little villages nearby.
She has performed chamber music together with other teachers on violin, flute, bassoon or other instruments. Her preferred area is piano music for four hands, or two pianos. Several performances of Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” in a version for four hands was especially well received.
Another passion of Baumann’s is singing. One of her greatest experiences was participating in the first performance of a composition by Swiss contemporary composer, Peter Escher. He wrote for synthesizer and choir on Walahfried Strabo’s “Hortulus” ("Herbs of a Monastery Garden"). Baumann had the chance to invent sounds on this instrument and to accompany the performance.
Baron started taking piano lessons at a rural one-room country school in central Kansas in the early 1950s from an itinerant music teacher. Baron also took violin lessons from him.
A Galatia, Kan., farmwife was her next teacher, followed by Gene Savage at Dana College. She gave piano lessons while in college and continued when her children were young. She has been the chapel organist at Good Shepherd Lutheran Communities for 33 years and the organist at Blair Congregational Church for 30 years.
The program will include Anton Diabelli's "Piano Sonatina in F-Major" for four hands, Peter Tchaikovsky's "from Children's Album," Wolfgang Mozart's "Piano Sonata in F Major," Jacques Ibert's "from Petite Suite" and Diabelli's "Piano Sonatina in D-Minor" for four hands.
Refreshments will be served at the concert. Blair Congregational Church is located at 16th and Colfax streets.