Dueling PianosYouTube Video Contest Pits Scanlan Against Friend and Mentor
Just days after passing her crown to the new Miss America at the 2012 Miss America Pageant where she was called “a Miss America for the ages” by co-host Brook Burke-Charvet, Teresa Scanlan, Miss America 2011, will make her musical recording debut when she joins noted composer and pianist Calvin Jones on the instrumental CD, Dueling Pianos. The project releases to retail stores and iTunes January 17 from City of Peace Media. It will be distributed to Christian retailers by Provident Distribution and to the general market by Sony Music.
“With its playful point and counter-point competition, Dueling Pianos recalls the brilliance of piano greats, Ferrante & Teicher,” says City of Peace Media Founder, President and CEO Yochanan Marcellino. “It is easily the best instrumental piano album I’ve ever heard and has all the earmarks of an Instrumental Album of the Year.”
The 16-song CD kicks off with Jones playing a spirited version of the title track, “Dueling Pianos (White Water Chopped Sticks).” The music segues effortlessly into a gorgeous rendition of the classic “Carol of the Bellz (sic),” proving once and for all that carols aren’t just for Christmastime.
Scanlan displays not only her piano prowess on the CD, but her silky smooth vocals on “After All,” the release’s only vocal offering. Scanlan also takes command of the grand piano to perform her edited pageant-version of Jones’ original composition, “White Water Chopped Sticks,” offering listeners the opportunity to experience the subtle, but distinct differences between the two pianists’ approach to the piece. Scanlan rose to the top of the contenders after her performance of the song at the 2011 Miss America competition, claiming one of only three top talent spots for all 53 contestants.
Scanlan and Jones first met when Scanlan, vying for the Miss America title as Miss Nebraska, requested permission to perform “White Water Chopped Sticks” at the competition. Jones coached the contestant to her winning performance and the two became fast friends.
“I encouraged her to go home and practice hard — and she did!” Jones says of their first meeting.
In fact, Scanlan’s resulting proficiency of Jones’ “White Water Chopped Sticks” led to a friendly competition between the student and the mentor — a competition captured on video by award-winning director Dustin Marcellino (The Identical) of City of Peace Films. The “Dueling Pianos” music video, with its whimsical “anything you can do, I can do better” vibe, released immediately after Scanlan completed her reign as 2011’s Miss America.
Fans are encouraged to cast their vote for the winner of this good-natured piano duel by viewing the video on YouTube.com and then clicking on the “Cast your vote” link.
While both Jones and Scanlan are fiercely competitive, they share an affinity for more than just the piano. Both are committed Christians who bonded over their common homeschooling background. Scanlan is the middle child of seven, all of whom were homeschooled. Jones and his wife, Rhea, have homeschooled their four children over a 15-year period.
During the year of Scanlan’s Miss America reign, she invited Jones and his family to various events, furthering their friendship. The two musicians began writing songs together, which led to the idea of recording a CD. Due to her heavy schedule of appearances during her reign, Scanlan’s studio time was limited, but the two are already looking towards continuing their partnership into the future. Since recording Dueling Pianos, Scanlan and Jones have continued co-writing with plans to record a second project together.
“I am so blessed to have been able to meet and work with an inspiration of mine, Calvin Jones, and I am thrilled to be debuting my first recording experience,” Scanlan says. “It is such a privilege to share my music with the world and I hope to have the honor of continuing to do so for the glory of God.”
Dueling Pianos is the epitome of what an instrumental, inspirational CD should be. Jones draws on the beauty of nature for inspiration on his pensive acoustic piano musings like “Sunrise,” “Snow Melt” and “Beside Still Waters,” and on the beauty of Scripture for such meditative numbers as “Faith and Hope” and “Solitude.” There is a reverential melancholy to “Londonderry Falls,” a playful meandering to his sprightly rendition of “Ode to Joy,” and a warm and comforting familiarity to “Rachel’s Lullaby.” Dueling Pianos is a perfect selection for fans of Jim Brickman, Fernando Ortega and John Tesh.
The CD was recorded in several studios in Colorado, including FTM Studios, Colorado Sound and The Litterbox, as well as Jones’ private studio. The pianists are set to begin touring in support of the CD in March throughout the United States and overseas.