Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

February 5, 2013

Tickling the ivory

Piano-playing siblings perform for schools

By Janet Jacobs
Corsicana Daily Sun

Corsicana — Fifth-graders are notoriously short in the attention-span department, but the 5 Browns managed to work a miracle to get about 200 fifth-graders to sit still for nearly an hour during an assembly at Corsicana High School Tuesday afternoon.

The 5 Browns are piano-playing siblings, all Julliard-educated. This week, the group is actually down to four Browns and a Beus, as sister Desirae is out on maternity leave and is being temporarily replaced by another Julliard grad, Stephen Beus. They switched it up, playing solos and duets, and then there were times when all five were pounding on the five gloriously black Steinways on stage like their lives depended on it.

Each piece was preceded by a short introduction by one of the Browns, either an explanation of what the music was portraying, or reminding them of where they might have heard it before.

The 11-year-olds in the audience seemed to be most pleased with the “Star Wars,” music, but they couldn’t hold still when the group played “In the Hall of the Mountain King,” with its furiously racing tempo at the end.

At the end, the group approached the apron of the stage and answered questions from the audience, revealing that the Browns started playing piano at the age of 3, while Beus began at the age of 5. The younger Browns began by watching their older siblings playing piano and “we thought it looked like fun,” youngest brother Ryan said. The other Browns who are performing in Corsicana this week are Deondra, Melody, and Gregory.

They’ve been playing together as a group for nine years and in that time have traveled to almost all the states in the U.S., as well as overseas. Their grand pianos are carried from place to place in large crates and set up at each location.

They did four performances for school children this week, compliments of the Navarro Council for the Arts.

The 5 Browns will perform in concert for the public Thursday evening at the Palace Theater.

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Janet Jacobs may be reached via email at jjacobs@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “soundoff” to this article? Email: Soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com