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Morning Sun
  • Todd East was born to play music

  • Southeast Kansas now has its very own “Piano Man,” transplanted here from Rochester, N.Y.



    Also well known as a vocalist, Todd East performed Saturday during the Pittsburg Morning Sun 2013 Bridal Spectacular and Fashion Show.

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  • Southeast Kansas now has  its very own “Piano Man,” transplanted here from Rochester, N.Y.
    Also well known as a vocalist, Todd East performed Saturday during the Pittsburg Morning Sun 2013 Bridal Spectacular and Fashion Show.
    “I’ll do weddings, parties and clubs,” he said during a break from the music. “I do everything from jazz to soul, just a little bit of everything.”
    Back east he was often compared to Stevie Wonder, one of his major influences, and the two have several similarities. Both displayed their musical talent at a very young age, and both were born blind.
    “I think I’m more focused on what I’m doing because of that,” East said. “I do everything by ear and I have perfect pitch. They say that’s something you’re born with, but it needs to be developed.”
    He said that he first showed  his musical interest as a drummer.
    “At 3 I was playing pots and pans, so my parents bought me a drum set,” East said. “They got me a piano when I was 5, and I’ve been playing it ever since.”
    At 14 he studied under private instruction at Eastman School of Music in Upstate New York, then continued his education at Nazareth College in Rochester, earning a bachelor’s degree in piano performance and theory.
    “I’ve been playing professionally since I was 16,” East said.
    In Upstate New York he performed as a solo artist and with numerous groups. He was a founding member of Prime Time Funk, and is heard as a vocalist on its CD “Hear and Now.”
    East’s voice and piano were heard on many radio and TV commercials in Upstate New York and he performed internationally at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Club in Paris.
    After an Oct. 21 farewell concert that was major event on the Upstate New York music scene, East moved to Iola around three months ago.
    “My wife’s family is from the area so I had visited many times, and I love it,” he said. “I’m building a career again.”
    Denise East, his wife, thinks he will be successful in doing that.
    “I’m just looking forward to everybody here getting to see and hear Todd and his incredible talent,” she said.
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