Simply Piano, a concert to celebrate the Smith Opera House Steinway Concert Piano,  returns to the Smith stage at 3pm on Sunday, March 5 — and in the nick of time.

One of the series’ stalwart players, Mark Gearan, is leaving Geneva and his post as President of Hobart and William Smith Colleges at the end of this academic year — making this edition of Simply Piano almost assuredly his last.

“Playing piano on the Smith’s beautiful Steinway is real pleasure.   This event is a great memory for me, and I’m excited to be a part of it again,” says Gearan.

Tagged “Simply Piano:  Crowd Pleasers”  this year’s program is a tip of the hat to President Gearan, offering up pieces the audience will likely find familiar — just the kind of music Gearan himself likes to play.

Gearan fondly remembers his mother, Martha Gearan, watching her son progress on piano as a child.  “You may not get to Carnegie Hall,” she would tell him, “but play to have fun with it.  And play so that other people will have fun listening.”

Joining him on stage will be by Meg Cognetta Heaton, Hilda Lam Collins, Troy Slocum, Lisa Gibson, Stan Proffitt, and Mark Olivieri. 

The concert also celebrates the piano itself, a nine-foot Steinway D Concert Grand donated in 1995 by local philanthropist Mary Lienk.  “It is our desire that the piano will be an asset to the Smith Opera House,” said Lienk, in making the gift, “and with conscientious supervision and care will be of benefit to the cultural life of Geneva and the surrounding community for many years.”

The piano debuted at the Smith on November 18, 1995, with an introductory concert featuring some of the players who will sit behind the keyboard on March 5. 

In addition to the local luminaries who have played the Smith piano, many well known performers have tickled those ivories, including Billy Joel, Simone Dinnerstein, Natalie Merchant and Roger Steptoe.

Tickets for the concert, a fundraiser for the Smith Opera House, are $25 general admission and $15 for students.  A light reception will follow the concert in the Smith Opera House lobby to allow the audience to greet the players.

For tickets or more information, go to thesmtih.org, or visit the Smith Opera House Box Office at 82 Seneca Street, or call 315 781 5483.