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Jazz great felt at home in Bowling Green PDF Print E-mail
Written by David Dupont   
Wednesday, 21 August 2013 15:02

Jazz  pianist and radio personality Marian McPartland, who died at her home Tuesday at 95, had a special relationship to Bowling Green.

The host of “Piano Jazz,” an NPR staple, performed here a number of times dating by the 1970s, and most recently in April , 1998 when she received an honorary degree from Bowling Green State University.

At that time she told the Sentinel-Tribune, Bowling Green felt like a second home. She’d met and maintained contact with so many people.

Her performances included playing an Edvard Grieg piano concerto with the Bowling Green Philharmonia. She acknowledged getting coaching on the piece by Virginia Marks.

“They very kindly let me try it out,” McPartland said in 1998.

That grace was evident when she returned to the university to receive an honorary degree.

Shortly before the concert and degree presentation, she met bass student Emily Rupp, of Bowling Green.

Later during the concert she dedicated Johnny Mandel’s “Emily” to the student.

Before she received the degree, she played a half dozen numbers with professors Roger Schupp on drums and Jeff Halsey on bass.

“It’s always great to play with an icon,” Halsey said at the time.

She and the bassist even engaged in an impromptu duet on “All Things You Are” that summoned the spirit of J.S. Bach in the middle of a jazz set to the amusement of musicians and audience alike.

The event closed with McPartland joining a larger contingent of faculty for a rousing version of “Things Ain’t What They Used To Be.”



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