St. John’s to host cello, piano concert

Published 12:03 am Sunday, August 13, 2023

Cellist Kevin Agner and pianist Mark Tysinger will present a concert at 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 20, in the Sanctuary of St. John’s Lutheran Church, 200 W. Innes St. in Downtown Salisbury.

The two St. John’s members will play together and separately during the program, which will run about an hour. They’ll unite on Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise, originally written for vocalists; the second movement of the second Rachmaninoff concerto; and the third movement of the Rachmaninoff Cello Sonata in G Minor.

Agner will play Bach Suite No. 2 in D Minor on his own. Tysinger will play two of four ballads written by Chopin, one in G minor, and one in F minor, with a brief Chopin Prelude in C minor in between.

Agner, 22, took up cello at age 9, encouraged by his great-aunt, cellist Nancy Bourne, wife of the Rev. Terry Agner, a retired Lutheran pastor. A May graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with degrees in music and nutrition, Agner is St. John’s cellist in residence while preparing his applications for medical school.

Tysinger, 68, began playing chamber music with friends as a young teen.

“We were such music nerds,” he admits. “We spent Sunday afternoons playing chamber music — badly.”

He got better.

Tysinger graduated from Queens University with a degree in piano performance from Queens University and a master’s degree in coaching and accompanying from the University of Cincinnati College — Conservatory of Music. He retired from the Charlotte Symphony after 30 years as its principal keyboardist. During that time, he was associate conductor and accompanist for Opera Carolina, and taught weekly vocal coaching and piano lessons to about 30 students.

He and wife Cathy met years ago when she was a vocal student. They recently reconnected, and were married Aug. 8, 2020. Both native Charlotteans, they decided they were ready for something “drastically different,” and moved to Spencer a year and a half ago into a beautifully restored home.

They found the St. John’s traditional service to be the perfect fit. Cathy Tysinger sings in the choir and plays the flute. Tysinger says he appreciates the generosity of Deacon Rob Durocher, minister of music and the arts, for letting the couple participate in the church’s music program.

“I was blown away the first time I heard Kevin play,” Tysinger says. “I caught him in the parking lot after the service and the only word I could say was ‘Superb!’”

The two have relished rehearsing together and brainstorming ideas for the upcoming concert.

“Kevin is a very wise 22-year-old,” Tysinger says. “I don’t feel any age gap. We have so much in common. It’s just a joy to work together.”

Agner agrees.

“We love talking about music,” he says. “We’re good friends. This concert is a true collaboration.”

Light refreshments in Ritchie Hall will follow the concert.