Blessing with music

Bringing a mix of ragtime, spiritual, country and pop music, Peter Amstalden is set to perform during Heritage Day in Webster City.

The Stanhope teenager will be playing both piano and guitar in the Mulberry Center Church on Saturday from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the event. He has also planned to play with Hannah Tjarks, a fellow student at Amazing Grace Piano Studio in Stanhope. Amstalden said he was invited by Carolynn Miller, of Webster City, to perform at Heritage Day after she saw him perform.

Amstalden began playing music when he was six years old. His father, Ernest, a longtime musician, was playing the piano one day when he asked him to teach him how to play. At first, Amstalden said his father was reluctant to teach him, but eventually did. Later, others began asking him for lessons. Gathering more students, his father opened up the studio where he and many others learn and practice the piano.

With a decade of piano under his belt, Amstalden practices for about an hour a day. He has performed at annual concerts for the studio as well as an Old-Time Piano Contest in Peoria, Ill. Amstalden will feature songs from several musical genres, but ragtime in particular was a challenge to learn.

“It’s complicated, but I like it,” Amstalden said. “I like the finger challenge.”

In addition to the piano, Amstalden has learned how to play the guitar. He picked up the instrument by himself. He also said he picked up the drums, but hasn’t played them regularly. While aspirations to form a band have so far been unsuccessful, Amstalden finds a lot to love about playing music.

“I also play on the worship team at our church, and that’s my favorite thing about playing,” Amstalden said. “Blessing other people with music.”