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Parker to accompany Commonwealth Chorale

Kimberly Parker, pianist, soloist and teacher, sees music as a lifetime pursuit. On the Liberty University faculty since 2015, Parker believes in sharing the joy of music not only with her students but the community at large. In December she will accompany Farmville’s Commonwealth Chorale for two concerts featuring Bach’s “Christmas Oratorio.”

In her piano studio at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Parker explains her community-oriented outlook.

“My mother was determined that all her children would play piano, so when I was 5 years old she started me off,” Parker recalls. “When I was 10, I started playing at church. I continued to be involved in the church throughout my young life.”

Parker’s joy in music continued to grow as she progressed through a series of teachers.

“When I was 11, I started with a teacher who was a graduate of the Eastman School of Music,” Parker related. “She really fostered an appreciation and exposure to classical music.”

When Parker’s family moved to Alaska, studying piano became more challenging.

“We lived in a village of 100 people, and there were no classical piano teachers,” she recalls.

Not to be deterred, Parker’s mother located a teacher at the University of Alaska in Anchorage.

“Since there were no roads leading to our village, I had to fly in for my lessons,” Parker continues. “That, of course, limited the number of lessons I could attend. Some years there would be two or three lessons, and other years it would be 10 or 15.”

Despite its isolated location, Parker recalls the Alaskan village where she grew up as vibrant place.

“There was always something going on,” she says. “It was still a discipline to continue with piano.”

After high school, Parker continued that discipline at Bryan College where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Piano Pedagogy.

“I came to Liberty to study in 2012. I haven’t left yet,” she adds with a smile.

While at Liberty, Parker earned her Master of Arts degree in Music and Worship and met and married her husband. In 2015 she joined the faculty teaching applied piano and group piano classes.

In addition to her teaching duties, Parker currently serves as church pianist for Trinity United Methodist Church in Concord.

“It’s a country church, and I enjoy that,” she adds. “Country churches really capture the joy.”

Parker also finds joy in a private piano studio she maintains in the Lynchburg area. Her students range in age from 5 to 70.

“I love teaching younger kids as well as adults,” she adds. “I have tremendous respect for older students who are willing to jump in there and continue to learn. That’s an inspiration to me.”

While Parker enjoys contemporary music, she remains a staunch supporter of classical repertoire.

“This is my first endeavor in accompanying a chorale for an entire work,” she notes. “I’ve enjoyed learning the Bach Oratorio. I absolutely think it’s important for us to keep performing classical pieces and making them a part of our community traditions. It keeps us grounded in what has come before us.”

Parker feels right at home with the Commonwealth Chorale whose members span a wide spectrum of occupations and ages.

“Music is so enriching throughout life,” Parker concludes. “It’s wonderful to think that the people you’re teaching will fill their homes and communities with music all of their lives.”

The Commonwealth Chorale will present its Christmas Concert Series Sunday, Dec. 2, at 3 p.m., at College Church, Hampden-Sydney, and Sunday, Dec. 9, at 3 p.m., at Farmville United Methodist Church. Concerts are free, and the public is welcome.