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The Thousand Islands International Piano Competition returns to Cape Vincent

Published: Sep. 12, 2021 at 3:57 PM EDT
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CAPE VINCENT, New York (WWNY) - Fingers danced on the keys, and feet pounded the pedals. The Thousand Islands International Piano Competition is back in Cape Vincent after it was cancelled last year due to COVID.

The competition attracted young pianists from all over the country, like Michigan native Tejas Shivaraman. It was his second time competing in Cape Vincent.

“What’s not to like? There’s the waterfront view right there. The community is great here,” Shivaraman said.

The 18-year-old has played in a few notable venues, like Carnegie Hall in New York City. Shivaraman said he started playing the piano at five years old, but it wasn’t always smooth sailing.

“At the start, it was my parents who wanted me to take lessons,” Shivaraman said. “There was a point where I wanted to quit, but now I can’t imagine life without a piano.”

It’s pianists like Shivaraman that have carried the competition for nearly two decades. That has created a loyal following.

“They are all very talented and they’ve all worked really seriously,” Brian Preston, Artistic Director of The Thousand Islands International Piano Competition, said. “The community in Cape Vincent and the St. Lawrence area are crazy over the fact that it’s happening again.”

Liz Brennan, the competition’s chairperson, said the event would be impossible without the community. It costs almost $25,000 to fund it.

“We get a lot of contributions, small and large. And then they come out and support it in terms of the audience,” Brennan said.

Sunday was the finale of the three-day competition. There are cash prizes for the top three finishers in each division. After the year absence, having this sound again was a sound of normalcy.

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