William Jackson was 7 years old when he began taking piano lessons from Talya Mayfield in New London, Mo.

William Jackson was 7 years old when he began taking piano lessons from Talya Mayfield in New London, Mo.

He and the other youngsters at Second Christian Church in New London were not allowed to play the church piano unless they were taking lessons, so he became a student of Mayfield. She “was a family member as well as our church pianist,” Jackson said.

Now, after continuing piano lessons through the years, Jackson is a Culver-Stockton College sophomore majoring in music and teaching children’s piano lessons.

He is coming to Hannibal Sunday, Feb. 16, to present a piano and vocal recital at 4 p.m. at the Hannibal Arts Council, 105 S. Main St.

The HAC announced it will celebrate Black History Month with his recital, which will focus on black composers of both classical and jazz music.

Jackson reported he will feature both ragtime and jazz, including “Maple Leaf Rag” by Scott Joplin, a native of Missouri.

He also will play Duke Ellington jazz standards including “Satin Doll,” “There Will Never Be Another You” and “Take the A Train.”

The public is invited to his free recital.

The HAC reported a free will donation will be accepted to help pay for an upcoming conference Jackson will attend.  For more information, contact the HAC at (573) 221-6545.

Jackson was reared in New London and graduated from Mark Twain High School. At Culver-Stockton, he is involved in Sigma Phi Zeta music fraternity, Delta Upsilon, concert choir, wind ensemble and jazz ensemble, as well as the Big River Swing Machine in Quincy, Ill. He is also the pianist and choir director at Canton Christian Church.

Jackson has clear career goals. “I want to teach for a few years. I want to get a master’s in music therapy and then, hopefully, a doctorate in music therapy, so I can teach at the collegiate level.”

First practiced

on church piano

With no piano at home when Jackson began piano lessons at age 7, he returned to his church to practice. After Mayfield left for college, he continued lessons with Joe Jorgenson, then Ava Jackson.

His piano teachers also included Carol Jo Riley, Anda Zirnitis and Dylan Marney.

At about age 9, Jackson received his first keyboard as a Christmas present from his mother, Betty Jackson. Then he could begin practicing at home.

Jackson credits his mother and also his aunts and uncles for their help and encouragement.  “They would come to concerts,” he said.

His aunts, Linda Burton, Paula Holliday and Joann Allison, “all helped in some way,” Jackson continued, “either getting me lessons or to lessons or helping pay for lessons.”

In his youth, Jackson performed with his high school as well as his church. The latter took music groups to other places in Ralls, Pike and Marion counties.

At Culver-Stockton, Jackson has continued with private lessons from area pianists, such as Barkey Bryant, a graduate student at Western Illinois University.