La La’s Piano Players present annual recital

La La’s Piano Players presented their annual Spring Recital on June 3 at the Vinton War Memorial. Students participating in the event included Leslie Jordan, Jackson Hare, Evan Smith, Allyssa Vann, Chukie Elechi, Kirsten Neal, Harry Anderson, Logan Jones, Abbie Dooley, Chris Merchant, Teresa Nester, Callie Lusk, Madison Montgomery, Elizabeth Martinez, Shelby Whitmer, Peter Anderson, Cooper Dooley, Carly Graybill, and five of her Lutheran Family Services Agency clients.

La La’s Piano Players presented their annual spring recital on Sunday, June 3, at the Vinton War Memorial. Students of Carol McCulloch shared an afternoon of beautiful music centered around a Broadway and movie theme.

Some students illustrated their selections with art work, and others sang or used additional props to enhance the theme.

Eighteen of McCulloch’s 23 students participated in this event: Leslie Jordan, Jackson Hare, Evan Smith, Allyssa Vann, Chukie Elechi, Kirsten Neal, Harry Anderson, Logan Jones, Abbie Dooley, Chris Merchant, Teresa Nester, Callie Lusk, Madison Montgomery, Elizabeth Martinez, Shelby Whitmer, Peter Anderson, Cooper Dooley, Carly Graybill, and five of her Lutheran Family Services Agency clients.

Chukie Elechi, son of Dr. And Mrs. Celment Elechi of Roanoke, received the “Star Piano Student Award” for his dedication, preparation, motivation and overall progress.

McCulloch honored her students, their families and friends with a reception following the recital.

McCulloch said her mission is to “teach the love of music, especially piano, to both typical and special needs students. Lessons are customized to fit each.” She believes that music especially enriches the lives of those with special needs.

She said, “As a young piano student, I was highly motivated and inspired by one particularly creative piano teacher who made my lessons challenging, interesting and fun.  Had she not let me be ‘me,’ I would not have fallen in love with playing the piano the way that I did.”

She has been teaching piano for nine years, after retiring from careers in the print news profession and as an English teacher.

McCulloch says the name “La La “came from my grandchildren, and since it had a musical ring to it, I chose it for my little piano business.”

She co-founded “Friday Night Friends,” a respite/recreational organization for special needs kids and young adults in the Roanoke Valley and surrounding counties and serves on the board of directors for the Blue Ridge Independent Living Center in Roanoke.

McCulloch said she has played piano in churches since the age of 14 and for the past 25 years she has served as pianist, organist, and choir director in various churches in the Roanoke Valley, most recently in Salem. She has also taught in local children’s camps and programs over the past nine years.

A favorite quote from Robert Benson is posted on her website to express her philosophy, “There has to be a song to make our burdens bearable, to make our hopes believable, to transform our successes into praise, to release the chains of past defeats. There has to be a song.”

More information is available on her website at www.lalaspianoplayers.com.

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