["Pianomen," at the Virginia Samford Theatre in Birmingham through April 29; 251-1206; Review gets four out of five stars.]
“Pianomen” really isn’t a play. It’s not theater.
It’s more like a chance for a guy to sit down at the piano, tell us a few stories about his life and, mainly, sing the songs of Billy Joel, Elton John, Barry Manilow and others while three of his friends sing back-up.
Thank goodness that guy is Lonnie Parsons, one of the most talented guys around when it comes to playing the piano and singing. And it doesn’t hurt that his talented trio of friends is made up of Kristi Tingle Higginbotham, Jan D. Hunter and Amy Johnson.
What do you get when you combine four Birmingham musicians with a passion for percussion? An Iron Giant. Iron Giant Percussion was formed when students Sam Herman, Brett Huffman, Seth Noble and Justin Wallace collaborated. Brett and Seth recently graduated with Bachelor of Arts degrees in music. Justin graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with a Concentration in Music Technology. Sam is a senior Music Technology major. The UAB Department of Music presented them in concert at UAB’s Alys Stephens Center on January 17, 2012.
They first collaborated in 2010 for Seth Noble’s Young Performing Artist Program recital at UAB. They performed together again in spring 2011 for the Sanspointe Dance Company in Birmingham. As they prepared, talk of forming their own percussion quartet became more frequent, with the ultimate goal of performing an entire concert on their own.