Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

March 21, 2013

In tune with a musical couple

Judy Wakefield
Staff Writer

---- — She likes to talk, telling stories while he quietly listens, correcting any minor details she has forgotten.

Married 47 years, Terri and George Kelley of Andover come across much like the classical musical pieces that she loves to play on her beloved piano — melodic and traditional. Long-haired George will be her accompanying vocalist when asked but what’s so refreshing is that his classical singing crosses over to a comedic stage easily. He leads the laughter when the couple is described as oldies but goodies.

When she shares his singing-in-the-shower talent, he just lets it roll off his shoulders with one of those “whatever” looks.

The Kelleys have been on the local music scene for years. They are the behind-the-scenes organizers for some popular concerts around the area, such as the free concert series held every spring and fall at Lawrence Public Library for the past seven years. It’s typically a standing-room-only crowd at those concerts. They also perform at weddings and church events.

This couple simply loves music and enjoys sharing their passion. On Sunday, March 24, at 2 p.m., they will be at it again with an afternoon Celtic celebration called “Ireland in Song.” The concert at Lawrence Public Library features classical Irish music. Songs typically sung in Irish pubs for rowdy crowds are out. Kelley’s concert is much softer and traditional. But one of the most popular Irish songs - Danny Boy - is on the playlist.

“Irish classical music is so versatile and I love to play it on the piano,” said Terri, who teaches piano at her Cross Street home. “Danny Boy’s classical roots are an example. The song was written in 1855 - by a Presbyterian - and audiences still love it and so many people sing along. I just love seeing that at a concert.”

The concert is a tribute to the late Irish fiddle virtuoso, Larry Reynolds, who passed away last October. It was Reynolds who hooked the couple on classical Irish music years ago.

“He loved Irish music and always asked when I would play (piano) with him...he was a wonderful man,” Terri said. “Mr. Reynolds was an internationally known musician who did much to inspire a love of fine Celtic music. We were definitely influenced when he performed in Andover. He is missed by countless music lovers.”

She’ll be thinking of him as she sits and plays at the treasured Steinway piano stored at the Lawrence Public Library and rolled out for the Kelleys’ concert. Built in 1914, the piano’s treasured history in Terri’s family also makes her smile as she plays it. A Lawrence native of the Clover Hill section, she first played that piano as a young girl. Her father was an orchestra leader and performed weekly on the radio with his band.

“I was 8 when I first played that piano and I remember that day...so, playing that piano touches my heart,” said the classically-trained pianist.

A retired 37-year language teacher at Lawrence High School, Terri Kelley certainly keeps busy with her music. She also likes to write and hosts an author series on Andover’s local cable station. She’s taught cooking classes with her husband through the Department of Community Services.

George Kelley handles the managing side of his wife’s studio business. The couple has lived in town since 1979.

Summing up, Terri said music has formed so many connections for them, as George nodded in agreement.

“There’s magic to music,” she said. “The connections just go on and on.”

Free Classical Irish music concert :WHO: Featuring Terri and George Kelley of Andover WHEN: Sunday, March 24, 2 p.m. WHERE: Lawrence Public Library, 51 Lawrence St., Lawrence WHAT'S PLANNED: One-hour concert offers Celtic melodies for voice and piano, guest appearance by local singer Larry Melia Jr. Reception follows. MORE INFO: 978-683-8222