Q&A with Nancy Evans

You’re a pianist, a former music teacher and a trustee of the Seattle Symphony. What’s your favorite classical piece?

I love the second movement of Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto. I can get very nostalgic with that music. One Christmas when I was about 13, 33 rpm long-playing records were new. I said, “I don’t want anything except Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto!” I still have that record. It just blows me away every time I hear it, and Rachmaninoff is playing the piano!

How about popular music?

I love show tunes. When I was 10, 11, 12, I would imagine myself on Broadway—singing and dancing my way through some show. Well, I could dance but I could never sing very well. But I love all the show tunes - Rodgers & Hammerstein. “South Pacific” is just timeless.

Favorite book?

How can you come up with just one book? Well, I loved “The Kite Runner,” by Khaled Hosseini. It’s a beautifully written story of a young boy growing up in Afghanistan where they flew kites a lot and had these races in the sky. They’re roaming the streets and being boys, but there’s racism and war and rites of passage. It’s about loyalty, forgiveness, family relationships and redemption.

The story you related to us about your granddaughter Eloise’s battle with cancer is harrowing, but it has a happy ending. And you have some advice for parents, don’t you?

Yes, I do. Eloise was almost 4 and she just wasn’t herself. First, they said it might be an ear infection, then tonsillitis. My daughter-in-law, Celia, knew it had to be something more serious. She took her to the ER at Children’s Hospital and said, “Something is wrong with this child, and I want to find out what.” They found a mass the size of a tennis ball under her brain. It was so fast-growing; who knows what would have happened had they waited. Eloise is 14 now and doing beautifully, thanks to some great people at Children’s and the UW Hospital, so this story has a wonderful outcome. But the thing I so often tell young mothers is this: “Listen to your children. Don’t necessarily listen to the doctors, because you know your child better than anybody. Follow through on your instincts.”