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  , 2004

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Piano-drummer opens for Julie de Azevedo Oct. 26

PROVO, UTóNew artist Jared Johnson will open for award-winning pop songstress Julie de Azevedo at BYUís de Jong Concert Hall on October 26 in a fundraising concert for the Y Cycling Club.

The concert will feature new tunes from de Azevedoís latest pop album HELLO SKY, as well as Johnsonís own unique brand of piano music.

Johnson couldnít find the right genre for his music, so he created his own. His debut album, Piano Pop blends ingredients of jazz, new age, classical and straightforward pop in a mixture of upbeat and reflective solos.

"This is music you can listen to over and over and never get tired of," said Russ Dixon of the group Colors. Johnson opened for Colors earlier this year at another benefit concert.

"Piano Pop is a high-energy piano album that takes you places. Jared's compositions are moving and fun to listen to," said pianist Michael R. Hicks, who received three Pearl Award nominations this summer for his album Creations.

On stage, Johnson adds a new dimension to his music by actually drumming on the piano with his hands to produce a background beat.

Raised in Houston, Texas, Johnson began his classical training at age five. In high school, he stuck with the piano and began studying percussion in addition.

Johnson has seen hands-on success opening for popular acts including Colors and Peter Breinholt. His music is played regularly on KOSYís "Sounds of the Sabbath" program Sunday mornings. Online, Piano Pop is featured on KZION radio, and four songs from the album reached Top 40 positions on MP3.com within a month.

Other artists seem to recognize Johnsonís ability to share uplifting piano music in a new light.

"Jared uses his unique brand of solo piano to relax and refesh an audience that is growing larger and larger," said local piano favorite Jon Schmidt.

The October 26 concert will raise money for the Y Cycling Club. Both de Azevedo and Johnson are no strangers to benefit concerts. De Azevedo has performed in a string of them recently, including a benefit for victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks. Johnson recently performed in a concert to raise funds for the Provo High School track team.

Tickets for the 7:30 concert are $7 in advance, $8 at the door, and are available at the Harris Fine Arts Center Box Office.