Pianist Jim Thompson will perform a concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, May 1, at Waupaca High School.
Thompson’s concert, Old Friends: A Program of Keyboard Memories, will benefit the Gerald C. Knoepfel Scholarship Fund. It is in memory of Gerald Knoepfel, the longtime director of music at the high school and of the community concert. The concert also remembers Russell A. Thompson, the pianist’s father, who passed away Oct. 30, 2010.
A 1977 graduate of Waupaca High School, Thompson holds a bachelor’s degree in piano performance from Lawrence University in Appleton, a master’s degree in arts administration from Indiana University Bloomington, and a master’s degree in whole systems design from Antioch University in Seattle, Wash.
“The Waupaca community has been doubly blessed. We were first given the gift of Jerry Knoepfel and his vision for music and arts in Waupaca. Now we are blessed through one of his students, Jim Thompson,” according to Dan Wolfgram, WHS director of choral activities. “Through his benefit concert, in honor of Mr. Knoepfel, we are raising funds for future generations to help realize their own dream of making music their career.”
Thompson is not a typical concert artist. He presents diverse and inventive piano compositions, and engages the audience with personal, scholarly and witty dialog.
The program features works for the piano by Catalani, Chopin, Debussy, Grieg, Poulenc, Schumann/Liszt, Scriabin and Sibelius.
Old Friends was conceived as a reflection on family, friendship and hometown joys.
“It never ceases to amaze me how much one learns from revisiting music that has been part of one’s life for years. To me, this mirrors the essence of lasting friendship: There is always something to learn from people who have been part of your life for decades. My dad and Jerry had a unique and rewarding friendship as well, so this program gives us time to truly ponder the adage that opposites do attract,” Thompson said.
Knoepfel’s wife, Selma, who was also Thompson’s seventh-grade science teacher, said, “I am so pleased that Jim is using his musical talents to present a program to support the music scholarship in Jerry’s name. Jerry encouraged Jim to advance his musical talents and Jim did. The scholarship continues to be very helpful by assisting young musicians reach their goals and live their dreams.”
Wolfgram noted that through Thompson’s efforts the fund has provided three $1,000 scholarships since 2008.
The concert is free, with a suggested donation of $20 to support Knoepfel’s scholarship fund. The Gerald C. Knoepfel Scholarship Fund supports gifted WHS graduates with their music-based college education.
Questions about this special afternoon of music and the Gerald C. Knoepfel Scholarship Fund should be directed to Wolfgram, director of choral activities, WHS, by calling 715-258-4131, ext. 1419, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
People who are unable to attend the concert but wish to make a donation, can send checks payable to GCKSF – WHS, and mail them to Wolfgram’s attention at WHS, E2325 King Road, Waupaca, WI 54981.