Celebration of Life concert set at college

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Kuan-Yao Nie

BELOIT - Beloit College Professor of Music and Turtle Creek Chamber Orchestra Executive Director Ian Nie wants to invite the community to the Celebration of Life concert set for 7 p.m. on March 23 at Beloit College's Eaton Chapel.

All proceeds raised will benefit the Milwaukee-Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. There is a suggested donation of $10 per person or $25 per family.

The multi-themed event is hoped to raise awareness about pancreatic cancer and celebrate survivors as well as honor Nie's late mother, Kuan-Yao Nie, who would have celebrated her 98th birthday on March 23.

"The idea is to bring together the concept of honor from different angles," Nie said.

The concert has a star-studded lineup of local talent.

Nie, on piano, will perform pieces by Johann Sebastian Bach, Achille-Claude Debussy and Johannes Brahms. To celebrate what would be his mother's birthday, Nie has chosen three works she enjoyed. He said his mother lived with integrity and honor and placed family first. She was a teacher at the former Royce Elementary School and gave back to the community.

Nie said the Bach piece is a work that his mother heard him begin when he was 12. The Debussy piece was the main composition on Nie's recital program as he began college. And, the Brahms piece was the work he performed a few years before his mother's passing.

Nie's fellow musicians also have meaningful and personal pieces to share.

Bill Cunningham, a pancreatic cancer survivor, will play Sergei Rachmaninoff's prelude in G Minor on piano.

John Pickart, who lost his mother to pancreatic cancer, will perform a viola concerto by Georg Philipp Telemann.

Shannon Schoville, a soprano, will be singing the Mozart aria "Don't Tell Me," with a theme of facing adversity and triumph.

Zachary Peterson will be playing a violin sonata.

Nie continues to promote awareness of pancreatic cancer. He recently announced the Turtle Creek Chamber Orchestra will dedicate its entire season to pancreatic cancer awareness. He said it's one of the lesser known cancers which impacts many people. Nie lost his sister-in-law to the disease.

Pancreatic cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, killing more people than breast cancer, according to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network at www.pancan.org.

Overall, 10 percent of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in Wisconsin will survive five years, according to the Wisconsin Cancer Survival Sept. 2016 release.

Dec. 11 will mark one year of being cancer free for Cunningham, which he considers somewhat of a miracle.

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