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Louisiana College president’s piano album to fund scholarships

PINEVILLE, La. — He doesn’t consider himself talented, but nonetheless Rick Brewer is lending his piano talents toward funding scholarships at Louisiana College.

Brewer became president of the Louisiana Baptist school in 2015, the same year he released his first album titled “Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs.” Proceeds from the sales of that CD went toward Louisiana College’s general scholarship fund, as will the proceeds from the recently released second recording, simply titled “Christmas.”

Rick Brewer, president of Louisiana College, plays piano on the stage of Guinn Auditorium on the school’s Pineville, La., campus. He recently released his second album, titled “Christmas,” to raise scholarship funds for students. Photo courtesy of Rick Brewer

“I’ve been thinking about this for some time,” said Brewer, who began taking piano lessons at the age of 5.

That time for thinking was amplified during the COVID shutdown earlier this year. With no school in session, Brewer played more on the six-foot Kawai grand piano in his living room, its notes echoing over the hardwood floors of his Alexandria home. The idea for an album soon formed.

Brewer credited his son Jason, a Nashville musician whose band released its fifth album this year, with doing the post-production and engineering work for “Christmas.” Jeff Young, director of technical production at Louisiana College, helped record the album before sending the files to Jason Brewer.

Rick Brewer describes his sound as a combination of classical, gospel and jazz.

“My version of ‘Silent Night’ sounds like something Ray Charles would have done. ‘Go Tell it on the Mountain’ might make you think of a combination of Delbert McClinton and Dr. John. ‘Jingle Bells’ definitely has a sound of New Orleans jazz,” he said.

“I don’t compare myself to those people. They’ve just been an influence on my life. For me, playing the piano is a stress reliever. It’s not uncommon for me to play for a few hours on a Friday night.”

Brewer will be part of a virtual concert over Zoom next week for those in Pineview and Alexandria.

“It’s kind of a Merry Christmas gift to the people of central Louisiana,” he said.

Future projects include a 2021 album that will be a compilation of hymns written by prolific 20th Century Southern Baptist hymnist and Louisiana College alumnus B.B. McKinney.

“Christmas” is available for order at the Louisiana College bookstore and streaming on Apple Music and Spotify. Two free songs become available after signing up at RickBrewerPiano.com.