Organist Cameron Carpenter to meet with LGBT adolescents

By : Krista DiTucci
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On Feb. 27, world-renowned organist Cameron Carpenter will meet with members of Blake High School’s LGBT youth club Common Grounds for a lecture/demonstration at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts.

Carpenter will be meeting with 25 student members of Common Grounds to discuss his music, career and the International Touring Organ. He will then entertain students with a brief performance of the touring organ. Carpenter’s appearance is in conjunction with his concert later in the evening at the Straz Center.

The sound and mechanics of the touring organ defy social norms and push the envelope. Carpenter says his musical innovation can be used as a tool to inspire freedom among all audiences including the LGBT community. The touring organ is a specially designed digital instrument consisting of five keyboards, a set of foot pedals and a bank of speakers. Carpenter says its purpose is to create “a single great organ transportable anywhere in the world, and to keep it consistent from venue to venue.”

Suzanne Livesay, Straz Center’s vice president of education, says Carpenter takes organ performance to a new level.

“He’s lived out what he believes through his art,” Livesay says. “You have to agree with the fact that he’s not just talking the talk. He is creating a whole new paradigm on how to interpret music.”

Livesay also says Carpenter is one of the few performers she has encountered who takes the time to talk to audiences before his performances.

“I get the impression that he really wants people to connect with who they believe they really are,” Livesay says. “Connecting with who you are is a critical component of how the LGBT community feels, especially adolescents.”

Carpenter will be performing in Ferguson Hall at the Straz Center at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $25 to $45 and may be purchased by phone at (813) 229-STAR, in person at the StrazCenter ticket sales office, or online at

“I’m excited for not only the opportunity to have an outlet for reaching out to a group of students, but I’m also hoping those students will be exposed to how the arts feed into the causes they believe in,” Livesay says. “I want them to see that you can use the impact you’ve made for the greater good.”

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