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PSC Concert Honors Memory Of Arts Supporter Sid Kamerman

Kadisha Onalbayeva

Pensacola State College is opening its Lyceum season this weekend with a special Kamerman Piano Series concert. The concert will feature a performance by Steinway Artist Kadisha Onalbayeva at 2:30 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 30, in the Ashmore Auditorium, Building 8, on the Pensacola campus.

The presentation will honor the memory of Sid Kamerman, who was an award-winning sculptor. And, with his wife Jeannie at his side, he was a long-time supporter of the arts in Pensacola and along the Gulf Coast.

Kamerman died in March at age 71 after a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer. But, during his lifetime, he left his mark on the community.

“Of course, Sid and Jeannie are great friends of ours at Pensacola State,” said Don Snowden, head of the Performing Arts Department at Pensacola State.

Snowden says when he was approached about doing a memorial concert for Sid his response was “absolutely!”

They selected a date that began the year for the college’s Lyceum season.

Sid Kamerman was long associated with the PSC Visual Arts Department, but he and wife Jeannie also loved classical piano music and they often attended concerts presented as part of the Rolfs Piano Series. According to Snowden when the Rolfs decided to end the series after 25 years, the Kamermans stepped in.

“Sid and Jeannie were in the audience and came up to me at the reception and said ‘This can’t happen. We would like to do it,’” said Snowden, referring to the Kamermans’ reaction to the announcement he made at the last Rolfs concert. “So, I said ‘great.’”

Credit Kadisha Onalbayeva

So in 2013, the Kamerman Piano series at PSC was established to bring renowned, international classical pianists to local audiences.

According to Snowden, the classical piano series fills a niche in Pensacola, drawing modest audiences of 150-250. “But, people love it. They come to every concert and enjoy these pianists that come from all over the world to play our wonderful Steinway D Piano,” he said.

Jeannie Kamerman offered a simple explanation for why she and her husband of 46 years provided their financial support to keep the piano series going.

“I think often we give the gift we ourselves would most like to receive. And, what we think makes our lives complete,” she said. “Sid and I both love classical piano music and sharing it with those in our community makes it all the more meaningful. The piano series was the right opportunity at the right time.”

The idea of honoring Kamerman with a concert in his memory came from Kadisha Onalbayeva, who will be the featured performer.

“This is an honor,” said Onalbayeva. “I think that makes me feel so wonderful, doing something special for him.”

An accomplished recitalist, chamber musician, composer, and orchestral soloist, Onalbayeva is the very first Steinway Artist from her home country of Kazakhstan. Also, she is on the music faculties of PSC and the University of Mobile.

She has participated in piano and composition festivals and competitions all over the world, performed more than 60 solo concerts and participated in more than 200 concerts as an accompanist and chamber soloist. And, she pointed out that Sid and Jeannie Kamerman supported her by attending many of her local performances.

Among the selections that Onalbayeva will perform are “Sonata No. 8 in A minor” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, “Dumka Op. 59 in C minor” by Peter Tchaikovsky, “Mephisto Waltz No. 1” by Franz Liszt, “Rhapsody in Blue” by George Gershwin, and “The ’96 Etude” by Pensacolian Michael Coleman.

The concert is set for this Sunday, Aug. 30 in the Ashmore Fine Arts Auditorium. The show starts at 2:30 p.m. Doors open at 2 p.m. and no tickets are required.