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Gualala Arts

Promoting public interest and participation in the arts since 1961.

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Gualala Arts LocalEyes Series presents:
Hidden Talents
Local amateurs take on the piano classics

Sunday, November 17, 4:00 p.m.
at the Gualala Arts Center
Buy tickets

Four local pianists - Judy Biehler, Bette Covington, Paula Osborne and Roland Stoughton - will give 15 minute solo recitals, presenting works by Bach, Brahms, Schumann, Chopin, Debussy, Grieg, Janáček and Prokofiev. Refreshments and conversations with the musicians follow the performance. The program will provide diversity of music and of musical approach.

Hidden Talents: L to R: Judy Biehler, Roland Stoughton, Bette Covington, Paula Osborne
Hidden Talents (L-R): Judy Biehler, Roland Stoughton, Bette Covington, Paula Osborne

The word 'amateur' in the title of this event does not apply equally or precisely to each of the four performers. For example, Ms. Covington taught piano privately for 30 years, and she and Ms. Biehler and Ms. Osborne have fairly extensive performance experience. Both Ms. Covington and Ms. Osborne were long time students of Roy Bogas, who local concert goers will know from his frequent Chamber Music Series appearances at the Gualala Arts Center. However, each of the four would eagerly admit the gap between them and concert artists who have pursued performance for a living and made it the highest life priority.

Most members of the audience will remember some personal experience with performing classical music as a child, and will appreciate how difficult this is; the event should be even more enjoyable for this empathy. Be glad that they are up there and you are in the audience! Mr. Stoughton, who began serious piano study only after retiring to The Sea Ranch in 2010, recalls one of his twin sons remarking after their first childhood recital "I felt like my teeth were going to fall out."

Classical piano is often a lonely endeavor. Amateur orchestras do not typically include piano, and chamber music (classical music for small ensembles) almost always requires a very high level of skill to undertake it. Unlike most other instruments, piano music contains multiple voices at once which have to be learned, so it is particularly difficult to break into chamber music as a pianist. The violinist and cellist are always turning to you and saying "is that ALL you've learned since last week?!" Hence the predominance in classical piano of solo music, solo performance and solo practice! This event is a great opportunity for the performers to share these efforts, and some wonderful music, with their community.

Performer Biographies

Judy Biehler began piano study after a childhood encounter with a broken glass dish caused a serious hand injury. The doctor suggested playing the piano would be good hand therapy. She began her study with a fine teacher in Chico, Kay Thompson, and studied with her for over 10 years. She also played the clarinet during this time, participating in symphonic and marching bands. At CSU Chico, she continued her piano study with C. Robert Laxson and studied the organ with Kay Thompson. Under Kay's tutelage, she began teaching piano. After college, she studied for 12 years with Frank Wiens, Professor of Piano at Stockton's University of the Pacific and performed in numerous chamber ensembles and had a long duo piano partnership. She has most recently studied for two years with Professor John Milbauer, now teaching at the University of Arizona at Tuscon and during the summers, at Chataqua, NY. She has performed in master classes including ones by Karl Ulrich Schnabel. She enjoys being an artist as well, where "performance" is quietly on paper and canvas.

Bette Covington grew up in Claremont, California, in a family where each of the five children was required to study a musical instrument. She began her piano studies at the age of 5 and continued until she graduated from high school as a promise to her father. During her four years at Stanford University she sang in the choir and then focused, with her husband, Marty, on raising their two sons, teaching 5th grade in Orinda, and maintaining a piano studio in Moraga where she taught privately for thirty years. During those thirty years she resumed her piano studies, as a long time student of Roy Bogas and also occasionally with Steven Gordon in New York. Bette was an active and performing member of the prestigious Berkeley Piano Club, the California Music Teachers Association, and the Etude Club of Berkeley. After moving full time to her Sea Ranch home in 2003, Bette closed her piano studio but continues to teach and to perform on occasion. Her interests have moved into the realm of fiber arts and she enjoys designing and making quilts, both for entries in local shows and for comfort quilts to the community.

As a child in Indianapolis, Paula Osborne was drawn to the piano and played by ear the pieces her older sister was learning. When Paula was 5 years old her elders decided that she should learn to read music instead, and her education began. She continued to study piano through high school and college, and after a 13-year hiatus from the piano while running her travel agency in Estes Park CO, she returned to the keyboard in earnest. Paula performed several solo recitals there before moving to the Bay Area, where she was fortunate to study with Roy Bogas in Berkeley for over a dozen years. Since moving to The Sea Ranch she has enjoyed playing locally for her own pleasure and that of her friends.

Roland Stoughton received the usual ineffectual intermittent suburban piano instruction as a child, and then was fortunate to have one good year at Smith College Conservatory while a student at nearby Amherst College. Although career and family subsequently nixed piano for 35 years, that year planted the idea of returning to it someday, which Stoughton was finally able to do when he retired to The Sea Ranch in 2010. Stoughton currently studies with Nancy Ohlbach of San Francisco. Stoughton also sings in the Mendonoma Madrigal group. Stoughton has a PhD in Physics, many publications in the fields of astrophysics, geophysics, defense systems analysis, and biotechnology, is author of 30 patents in biotechnology and the founder of two successful biotechnology companies.

Tickets are $10 in advance, $5 more on the day of the performance. Youth 7 to 17 are admitted free. For advance purchase, go to Brown Paper Tickets or call them at 800-838-3006. To purchase in person, visit the Gualala Arts Center or Dolphin Gallery in Gualala.

The Gualala Arts Center, located at 46501 Old State Highway in Gualala, CA,
is open weekdays 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and weekends from noon to 4:00 p.m.
Please call (707) 884-1138 for more information, or email

Serving the coastal communities of northern Sonoma & southern Mendocino Counties.