The Art Steffee Concert Series
A Musical Afternoon with Donna
Friday, October, 6, 2023 – Foxburg, PA
In the StoneRidge Barn
On Friday, October 6 the Oil City High School Class of 1952 gathered for a luncheon preceding the concert of their classmate, Donna Beatty, at Art and Marybeth Steffee’s home at StoneRidge – “in the barn”.
Art welcomed everyone, handed out programs, and invited them to stand and sing the school anthem, which Donna accompanied on the piano.
Art introduced Donna – sharing her rich life in piano performance, having concertized in recitals and performed concertos with numerous orchestras and, to this day, continuing to perform in Santa Fe with two groups.
Donna Jean Beatty Cook – Smith
Currently, I am pianist with the Santa Fe Jazz Band and at the High Desert Winds, both in Santa Fe, NM.
A graduate of the Warren Conservatory of Music, 1954, in piano performance, I was chosen to be a guest artist to perform for the International Piano Teacher’s association Convention, held in Chicago, IL.
In 1954, I toured with the Horace Heidt Orchestra as piano soloist, small towns on the east coast.
In the 1970’s, I served as piano accompanist at Wright State University music department.
In early 1980’s, I taught chorus in two middle schools in Los Alamos, NM.
In 1985, I was enrolled in the master’s program in piano performance at the University of New Mexico. While there, I was asked to perform a premier piano work, written by a composer at UNM. I also served as pianist with the UNM Jazz Band.
I appeared with the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, Dayton, OH and with the Los Alamos Symphony Orchestra as piano soloist, having performed both the Rhapsody in Blue, 1988, and the Concerto in F, 2017.
In 2003, I went to Vienna, Austria, on assignment and performed a Chopin Prelude. While there, I visited the Bösendorfer Piano factory where these pianos are manufactured, and I’m a proud owner of a Bösendorfer Grand Piano.
“…masterful nugget of technique, expression and meaningful interpretation.”
Ruth Williamson, pianist
“…an experience that only comes around one in a lifetime!”
David Chavez, director, LA Symphony Orchestra
“Mozart and Chopin were fantastic technique.”
Jan McDonald, music director
Donna introduced each of the works on her program with emotional and contextual detail, inviting her classmates to feel the power of the music with her.
Prelude in D Flat, Op 28, #15 Frederic Chopin (1810-1849)
Emily Johnny Mandel (1925-2020)
A Time for Love Johnny Mercer (1909-1976)
Prelude in E Minor, Op. 28, #4 Frederic Chopin (1810-1849)
Laura Johnny Mercer (1909-1976)
Somewhere Over the Rainbow Harold Arlen (1905-1986)
The Shadow of Your Smile Johnny Mandel (1925-2020)
Malagueña Ernesto Lecuona (1895-1963)
“Music is the language of the spirit.” Kahil Gibran
“When you play, never mind who listens to you.” Robert Schumann
“Music touches us emotionally, where words cannot.” Johnny Depp
Donna’s performance was moving and powerful, bringing a tear to the eye of many – and all those assembled responded in enthusiastic applause.
Art acknowledged Donna for her marvelous performance – and for coming from New Mexico to share with her classmates her rich and fulfilling love of music and the wonderful concert she had created with such care and performed so beautifully.
Prior to the concert, the class enjoyed a lovely lunch catered by Zack’s Catering of New Bethlehem, PA.
With marvelous desserts by Jessica Zackarie of The Crow’s Cupboard in Parker, PA.
The classmates, family and friends enjoyed their time together.
Class President Robin Hart shared that prayers had been answered and that there had been a miraculous intervention by Art and other medical personnel there that day, who had attended to their dear classmate, Bob Fritz, after his devastating fall and until the ambulance arrived to take him to a life flight to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh. God is good – with deep gratitude that Bob has recovered!
Arthur concluded the afternoon reading the poem “Life’s Greatest Gifts” by Dr. Ralph Bingham Cloward, an American neurosurgeon best known for his innovations in spinal neurosurgery.
Life’s Greatest Gifts
When you get on and you’ve lived a lot
and the blood in your veins isn’t quite so hot
and your eyes are dimmer then they were,
and the page on the book has a misty blur,
strange as the case may seem to be,
then is the time you’ll clearly see.
You’ll see yourself as you truly are|
when you’ve lived a lot and you’ve travelled far:
when your strength gives out and your muscles tire
you’ll see the folly of mad desires;
you’ll see what then to your eyes had hid
– the countless trivial things you did.
For often the blindest are the youthful eyes;
age must come e’re man grows wise.
Youth makes much of the mountain peaks.
the strife for fame and the goal he seeks.
but age sits down with the setting sun
And enjoys the useful deed he’s done.
You’ll sigh for the friends, who were cast aside,
with a hasty word or a show of pride,
and you’ll laugh at the medals which you prize,
because you will see them through different eyes.
You’ll understand how little they really meant,
For which so much of your strength was spent.
You’ll see as always an old man sees,
that waves die down with the fading breeze
and the pomps of life never last for long,
the great sink back to the common throng,
but you’ll understand when the struggle ends
that the finest gifts in life are friends!
Ralph B. Cloward