June 24 marked the end of our Piano Ensemble camp and during this week long program, we all had a fantastic time. What a treat to see these 17 students, age 10 to 16, work together and improve each day. It is during our first hour that the soul of the camp is shaped. Through theater games, mindfulness exercises, drumming, dancing, clapping, stomping and chanting, campers get a sense of the group and find themselves in a safe environment to explore new ideas.
After the first hour, campers were coached by different teachers and some of them had short one on one lessons to solve technical difficulties posed by the ensemble piece they were working on. On Wednesday and Thursday, all campers met again to attend special presentations by guest artists.
On the last day, we had a celebration party for our campers after they presented their work to their families: 22 instrumental pieces, 2 rhythm pieces and a joint session where each camper improvised a short solo. Pretty exciting!
I am really proud of the way our faculty created such a beautifully supporting environment. Thanks to Barbara, Carolyn, Andrew, Landon, Veena, Amber, Laura, Robyn, Sarah, Sara, Gaye, Renée, Jeannette, Tracey and our master teachers Sara Cumming and Kathryn Votapek. The Faber Piano Institute is a wonderful welcoming place and we are extremely aware of how lucky we are to be able to hold the camp there. We all appreciated the kindness and patience of all the FPI staff where we were generously offered the use of space and instruments. Kathleen deserves a special mention as she made a point to arrive 30 mn earlier each day to make sure no campers would be locked outside in case they were dropped off early. This camp is unique indeed and it seems it could grow a lot!
Here are links to camp highlights:
Fossile by C. Saint Saëns, with 14 players! To counter the 2 pianos, violin parts were doubled and two students learned the xylophone part on a clavinova. For some, it was a very first experience playing in an ensemble and, yes, a bit intimidating at first!
Polonaise by Loth for violin, cello and piano. Alden, Thomas and Ellie who knew each other, wanted to play a piece together during the camp. So here it is!
Pax, from a quintet by C. MacMichael, with Emma (violin 1), Isabel (violin 2), Alden (viola), Thomas (cello) and Emily (piano). Note that Isabel was also one of the pianists in Fossile and that Alden played the violin in the Loth polonaise and in the Shostakovich Waltz.
Waltz by Shostakovich for two violins and piano. Osip (violin 1) and first year camper, joined Alden (violin 2) and Ellie (piano) who were part of our first pilot camp last year.