Jerry Van Dielen – Occasional Pianist for church services, weddings and receptions
Like his brother Rob, Jerry started taking piano lessons at the age of six from Mrs. Lake in Wabash, Indiana and he practiced on the same 1948 Hammond Acrosonic spinet that his maternal grandparents had given to their then 12-year-old daughter in recognition of her prodigious talent. Needless to say, there was a high level of expectation of musical accomplishment invested in Jerry and his brother. Rob rebelled where Jerry took to the instrument.
When the family moved to San Manuel, Arizona, Wilma found Norah Norris as a replacement instructor for Jerry. This was a very fortuitous find, because Norah’s instruction was fashioned after the Arizona Music Teachers Association program which included equal portions of theory and performance.
For his 16th birthday, Jerry requested and was given 5 of the tone-poem editions of Edvard Grieg. These were based on whole tone schools and reflected a highly-personal and emotive style that coalesced well with the folk-rock music of the early 1970s. Jerry started building a repertoire of tone-poems and folk ballads that he started using at public weddings.
While in high school, Jerry played piano with the San Manuel High School jazz band and also started attending the ASU Fine Arts Summer Festivals where he was introduced to blues ballads and met the DeAnza College jazz band conductor Herb Patnoe. In his junior and senior years, he also started accompanying cellist Tom Robinson, a masters candidate in performance music at the University of Arizona. It was during this time that Jerry started perfecting his ability to accompany vocal and instrumental performers.
For the past 46 years, Jerry has been playing for church services for congregations of the Community of Christ church. It is Jerry’s firm belief that acoustic piano is the perfect instrument for spiritual settings because of its strong percussion capabilities and its clear voice.