Grammy Award-winning pianist George Winston will perform at 6:30 p.m. Sunday at Independent Bible Church, 116 E. Ahlvers Road in Port Angeles. (George Winston)

Grammy Award-winning pianist George Winston will perform at 6:30 p.m. Sunday at Independent Bible Church, 116 E. Ahlvers Road in Port Angeles. (George Winston)

Grammy Award-winning pianist George Winston to tickle the ivories in Port Angeles

PORT ANGELES — Grammy Award-winning pianist George Winston would rather play 10 concerts with audiences of 500 than perform one show to a crowd of 5,000.

He’d also play more for less money, he said, laughing.

“I’m really the opposite of the American way: Less is more.”

On Sunday, less will indeed be more at Independent Bible Church, 116 E. Ahlvers Road, where Winston will play to an audience of about 500.

The rare-to-Port Angeles concert will start at 6:30 p.m. to benefit Children of the Nations, a Silverdale-based Christian nonprofit that provides care to children in impoverished areas of Africa and the Caribbean.

There is no cost to attend, aside from what you wish to donate. However, you must reserve your seat with Children of the Nations marketing manager Rachel Wilson at rachelwilson@cotni.org or 360-633-1630. As of Tuesday, about 350 people had reserved their seats.

The smaller concert venue of Independent Bible Church provides Winston’s preferred acoustics: pure and no mic needed.

“Everybody is inside the piano with you, in a way,” he said.

You can be sure Winston will enjoy himself. He considers the audience, season and previous shows when putting together a program, but “the feel is the final determination,” he said.

“I can’t go through the motions.”

Like night and day, work and vacation, he said, he savors variety.

On Sunday, he will play a mixed bag of solo piano songs from his newest album, “Spring Carousel”; covers of one of his favorite composers Vince Guaraldi’s songs; and winter tracks (Winston has produced two albums based on the winter season: “Winter Into Spring” and “December”), he said.

It will be his second trip to Port Angeles, the first being in 2005 when he performed at Port Angeles High School.

Winston doesn’t usually have time to explore the area, he said, but he’s looking forward to the topography and weather of Port Angeles.

“There’s nothing like September in the Pacific Northwest,” said Winston, who grew up in Montana and now lives in California.

Sunday’s concert will mark his fourth benefit for Children of the Nations so far this year.

“We all try to help out as much as we can, and the best way I can do it is with benefit concerts and benefit records,” Winston said in a news release.

“The music tells me what to do. I’m not a good carpenter or anything like that, but I can help out this way.”

When asked what he admires about the organization, Winston spoke in unequivocal language: “Oh, just everything.”

Wilson recalled watching Winston perform at a benefit concert for Children of the Nations at Poulsbo Community Church in September of last year.

He arrived the day before, rehearsed all through the night and then rested in the afternoon hours leading up to the performance, she said.

When Winston took the stage, the audience could feel his passion, Wilson recounted.

“When he gets up, he doesn’t usually speak. He’s not a man of many words,” she said. “But when he sat down, he immediately started playing.”

That concert raised $8,000. Children of the Nations hopes to raise $30,000 on Sunday, she said.

The organization provides such services as nutrition, health care and education to children in Sierra Leone, Malawi, Uganda, the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

Child sponsorship represents one of the group’s key programs and a “constant need,” Wilson said. Currently, 5,000 people participate in the program, and 2,500 more sponsors are still needed.

During the concert, 27-year-old Ndaono Chauluka from Malawi will speak about his experience as a recipient in the village partnership program in 2003.

For more information about Children of the Nations, visit cotni.org.

________

Reporter Sarah Sharp can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56650, or at ssharp@peninsula dailynews.com.

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