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Pianist performs Canadian love songs for Valentine’s Day at the Parrott Gallery

Rick Penner performing at the Parrott Gallery. Photo by Jaykob Storey, QNet News

By Jaykob Storey [1]

BELLEVILLE – In honour of Valentine’s Day, local pianist Rick Penner performed popular Canadian love songs on at the Parrott Gallery [2] Friday.

Usually Penner performs classical music, but for Friday’s show he took a large departure, including works by Dan Hill [3], the Barenaked Ladies [4]and Avril Lavigne [5].

“I’m not a rock pianist by any means, so I’m a bit out of my element here,” he told the crowd before he began.

The pianist has been playing at the gallery since 2011, performing on the second Friday of each month. There is no admission charge.

“It’s Friday morning, so it’s an older crowd,” Penner told QNet News. “They like the old stuff, sometimes the really, really old stuff.” With the newer music added to this past week’s show, he said, “I would like to hope that they would hear some music that they like and also learn something new.”

With each song, Penner told anecdotes about the musicians, such as when the city of Toronto wouldn’t let the Barenaked Ladies perform because of their name.

He has played piano from the age of eight, and took up singing at 36. He says of his musical talent, “Some people just have a certain hand-eye co-ordination. I’m actually very co-ordinated with the piano, despite looking very clumsy with just about everything else.”

This was Penner’s 54th show at the gallery, and the retired meteorologist said he doesn’t intend to stop anytime soon. “I’m 72, but I feel a lot younger than that,” he said.

“It’s what keeps me going,” said Penner about his performances. “If people ever stopped coming, I’d stop doing it, and that’d be the end.”