Local teacher still tickling the ivory

Long-time musician opens new studio near Poulsbo.

“POULSBO – I started taking lessons when I was 13 and knew very shortly after that I wanted to be in music, Mary Reynolds said, eyeing two of her most prized possessions. The pianos in her Poulsbo studio In 1967 she took her brother’s place in Vietnam, becoming an overseas secretary so he wouldn’t have to face the horrors of combat. After a year of what she described as a wonderful experience, Reynolds found that she truly missed music. When she returned to Fort Ord, Calif. she got her budding career off the ground and started playing on a more regular basis. Despite having this outlet, Reynolds discovered that what she really wanted to do was pass her love of music on to others. So, after getting married and moving to Bremerton in the late 70s, she started teaching classes. In 1980, Reynolds started taking classes at Olympic College and by 1984 she was enrolled at Pacific Lutheran University, making ends meet by teaching all the time. She paid for her entire college education by showing others how to play and appreciate the piano. Music. My students and my family are the light of my life, she said with a smile. Despite this and with her educational needs being met, Reynolds was discovering a new challenge in trying to find sites to host recitals. Space for the performances was scarce and oftentimes prohibitively expensive. In this business sometimes you find yourself at the mercy of these facilities, she explained. Reynolds was gaining notoriety as a world-class pianist and shortly after moving to the Big Valley area near Poulsbo found herself on an airplane to China with five other teachers from the United States during a People-to-People music program. In total 14 people from various countries attended the 1995 delegation, which Reynolds said was strictly piano. The group exchanged teaching methods and discussed pieces in great detail during the summit. The event renewed her belief in piano music and fueled her desire to create a unique place where people could enjoy it. After much planning, and assistance from her husband, Reynolds finally opened her own studio off of Highway 3 near Poulsbo. It is a work of art. With sweeping views, phenomenal acoustics and gorgeous surroundings, Reynolds summed the recently built structure in three words, It is everything. She hopes that others in the community will realize the uniqueness of the studio and use it as well. The studio was blessed over the weekend by Father Hung of St. Olaf’s Church in Poulsbo. Reynolds plays the Saturday night mass in Suquamish at St. Peter’s. Although 22 students are presently enrolled in her piano classes, Reynolds said she could actually take up to 45. In the music world, practice and more practice make almost perfect. While she doesn’t have a favorite musician or even a favorite piece it’s not tough to figure out what her favorite instrument is – the piano. Reynolds can also unveil the clues to the classics, from Chopin and Bach to Handel and Beethoven, she is able to determine the artist in just a few stanzas. This knowledge is imparted on her pupils. The biggest reward is seeing kids going from knowing nothing to playing a piece -that’s what makes it worth it, she said. “

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