15-year-old pianist to anchor unique stage collaboration

Alex Jackson is ready to perfrom a “theatrical piano recital” at the Sarnia Library Theatre. Submitted Photo

Cathy Dobson

Alex Jackson excels at playing piano.

At age 15, he’s competed for years at the Lambton County Music Festival and never taken home anything less than first or second place.

“I believe I was born with a natural talent for music,” says Alex, who also plays guitar, drums, and almost every woodwind instrument.

The Grade 10 student plays baritone sax and bassoon in the Great Lakes Secondary concert band. But it’s piano he loves.

“I have my own style of playing and enough music theory to add a bit of a twist,” he says.

Under the watchful eye of private music teacher Sharon Sedgeworth, Alex recently earned his Royal Conservatory level 9.

Ultimately, he hopes to study at Juilliard and travel internationally as the conductor of a symphony orchestra. But for now, there’s time for a bit of fun.

Alex and about 18 of his friends from Bluewater Baptist Church will present something completely different to the community later this month.

They call it a theatrical piano recital, where silent actors accompany Alex on stage while he plays a nine-foot concert grand. He’s chosen 20 rock and pop selections from movies released in the 1980s and his friends are taking on numerous roles with each tune.

“There’s no plot that connects it. Each song is its own story,” said Alex.

He was inspired by ‘80s music because that’s what his dad, Scott, listened to growing up.

Scott Jackson, also a pianist, says Alex was only seven years old when he saw his dad play a basic song on an electric piano.

“Alex was immediately able to copy me and play it perfectly,” Scott said.  “Two weeks later, he could play it better than me. We knew we had something special in Alex.”

The ‘80s music in the upcoming show is what the family still regularly listens to at home.

“I really like composers like Hans Zimmer, John Williams and Alan Silvestri, who wrote a lot of the scores for the movies I picked,” Alex said.

He decline to say which movies are featured in “Reel Classy” but promised lots of surprises and laughs.

IF YOU GO:

WHAT: Reel Classy, a unique performance in which actors augment the music.

WHEN: Oct. 20 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., and Oct. 21 at 2 p.m.

WHERE: Sarnia Library Theatre

TICKETS: $10 advance at Cheeky Monkey or Van Goozen Music. $15 at the door.