HISTORY OF THE HOUSE
How the Kerrytown Concert House became one of the artistic cornerstones of Ann Arbor, MI.
Constructed before 1860, the “House” was for many years a grand home for Ann Arbor families living in what was the city’s light industrial and working class neighborhood. In1984, Carl Brauer, community leader and owner of Brauer Investments, Inc., purchased the house to provide parking for his award-winning office building on the corner of Fifth Ave. and Catherine. He began renovations on the house, gutting its interior and placing an ad in the newspaper advertising rooms for rent.
Meanwhile, founder and director Deanna Relyea, was looking for a teaching and masterclass space downtown. Finding Carl's advertisement in the newspaper, she called him inquiring about the property. Carl showed Deanna the house on North Fourth Avenue in its gutted state. Deanna’s creative mind was already at work imagining the possibilities. With the support of neighborhood businesses and residents, Deanna signed a 5-year lease on the building and founded the non-profit arts organization called Kerrytown Concert House (KCH).
KCH opened in September of 1984 with two gala benefit concerts given by Bill Bolcom and Joan Morris, celebrated husband/wife duo, and the interpreters of the American Songbook. Joining Joan and Bill were many of their illustrious friends including the late Percy Danforth, master of the bones; pianist/composer William Albright; oboist Harry Sargous; saxophonist Donald Sinta; and poet Alice Fulton. The concerts gave KCH an auspicious beginning, putting the house on the map of the arts and it soon became an important part of the cultural fabric of Ann Arbor.
Now operating year round, KCH hosts and presents hundreds of performances of classical, jazz, cabaret, and avant-garde happenings by both established national and international artists as well as emerging talent, many of whom live and work in our area. Additionally, KCH has been a venue for many private events including weddings, parties, memorials, fundraisers and such, making KCH even more special to the community.
HISTORY OF THE PIANO
Kerrytown Concert House is fortunate to have a stunning model C Hamburg Steinway grand piano. The instrument became part of the House family in 1988. Having previously decorated the parlor of an affluent London woman who had traded it for a piano with a “shiny finish,” it was purchased from Steinway Hall in London. When the piano was 7 years old it made its way across the Atlantic to Ann Arbor to grace the concert stage.
This piano is known and prized by pianists and performers all over the country and in Europe. Recordings on the piano include Mr. B's Sunday Best and the great stride pianist, Red Richard¹s recording with Detroit¹s saxophonist Charlie Gabriel. The recording went on to win the Hot Club of Paris Award.