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A first for the Mozart's Christmas Light Show

The Mozart's Christmas Light Show is back, but this time with a twist. Pianists of all ages and skill levels are being invited to share their keyboard talents on a lighted Steinway sculpture. (Photo:Bettie Cross)

It's beginning to sound a lot like Christmas on Lake Austin. The Mozart's Christmas Light Show is back, but this time with a twist. Pianists of all ages and skill levels are being invited to share their keyboard talents on a lighted Steinway sculpture.

“We like to keep the show fresh for people,” said Katrine Formby, the creator of the Mozart’s Christmas Light Show.

The free light and music show is one of Austin’s biggest holiday traditions. It's a dazzling display at Mozart's Coffee Roasters at 3825 Lake Austin Blvd. But this year what's really lighting up faces are 5,000 little blue bulbs.

“I did lose some sleep during the year thinking what is this going to look like,” said Formby.

Austin’s Queen of Christmas Lights imagined a glowing grand piano and refused to cut any corners. She went to Austin’s Steinway Gallery to refine her ideas for the first-of-its- kind instrument.

“I must have gone five or six times and measured everything because I wanted it to look exactly like a grand Steinway piano,” said Formby.

The 9-foot sculpture was created in Greece. By the time it took center stage on the deck at Mozart's, Formby is happy to say it made her toes tap.

“Even if you play chopsticks it sounds good,” said Formby.

But Esteban Alvarez wasn't invited to Mozart's to play chopsticks. The concert pianist is entertaining crowds in the true holiday spirit. He has released three albums, but Austin for Peace is close at hand while he plays the piano and is also close to his heart.

“The whole purpose of that album is to bring relief to Syrian refugees,” said Alvarez.

$50,000 in sales and donations have bought water, food and medicine for Syrian refugees. The pianist is hoping to raise more awareness by bringing music from Austin for Peace to Mozart's.

“Let's do something. We can do something,” said Alvarez. “The smallest thing we do could tilt the whole balance.”

Anyone who knows their way around a keyboard can sign up to play the interactive Steinway sculpture. There are no requirements to be a concert pianist or to have a cause.

Formby imagines every pianist will have their own reason for sharing their talent and making Christmas a little bit brighter.

To sign-up to play at the Mozart’s Christmas Light show contact Mozart’s Coffee Roasters.

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