A grand piano and a secondary upright piano will be carefully brought into Tent City Sunday morning, properly tuned by a nationally known piano tuner, and then skillfully played at 4PM by retired London barrister and prize winning ASU pianist Qing Qing Ye.
Both men are volunteering their time and prolific skills to raise inmate’s awareness of “What beautiful music really sounds like.”
RJ Astor is the brainchild of the program. He was a barrister in London for decades and now in retirement, he wants to travel the world bringing the magnificence of Mozart to unusual venues where people with little to no exposure or knowledge of the classics congregate.
Tent City is stop number two on Astor’s national quest.
Arpaio says the idea of bringing the classics to the underexposed is good and considering there is no cost for the concert, Arpaio is sanctioning the unusual event and will be present to see how well it is accepted.
“This is a fairly young male audience,” Arpaio says. “And I might expect a little heckling at first but maybe after a few numbers, an appreciation might set in. Who knows? Music education and therapy can’t be bad on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.”
In a discussion about the possibility of a Tent City/Mozart concert between the Sheriff and pianist Astor, Arpaio quoted his favorite musician, Frank Sinatra, by telling Astor if he can make it here (Tent City), he can make it anywhere….
This is the third concert at Tent City. The first was in July 2004 by country superstar Glen Campbell who spent a little time in Tent City after a DUI conviction and wanted to do something nice for the inmates there. And in 2007, Tent City was the site of Inmate Idol where a dozen inmates sang for a panel of judges which included Arpaio and singer Alice Cooper.