PIANO ENSEMBLE CAMP ’18 CELEBRATION
The AAAPTG Summer Piano Ensemble Camp was held at the Faber Piano Institute, from June 18 to June 24, 2018. During the week, students met from 9AM to 1:30PM and 10AM to 1PM on Saturday. After performing 23 pieces, plus three camp ensembles based on Irish tunes, students and their families were invited to a farewell pizza party.
Each year, the camp takes a very different shape based on the kind of students who participate but also from what we have learned from previous camps as well as our willingness to explore new avenues. In its 4thyear, the camp expanded in four different ways:
- Twenty students registered from 4thto 12thgrade, compared to 18 the year before and the group’s age span was wider. This is really the maximum the space can handle!
- Due to the rising level of playing, the repertoire included some standard advanced chamber music pieces, such as movements from Haydn, Beethoven and Mendelssohn trios.
- We chose an Irish theme and explored repertoire based on Irish folk songs. During the first hour class, campers learned to play Irish tunes on the “whistle” and learned about the singing traditions of Ireland. They also learned to dance the gig.
- While the Faber Institute has generously been hosting the camp for free for the last three years, the AAAPTG rented the space for 3 hours on Saturday morning for its end of camp celebration. In essence, this extension allowed us all the advantages of one more day of rehearsal on Friday.
Students benefited from the presence of four guest artists: Cellist Katri Ervama, who both coached and performed with advance students, Violinist David Ormai, who gave master classes, Irish specialist Susan Camino, Pianist George Lopez from Bowdoin College in Maine. Besides working with the most advanced groups, Mr. Lopez conducted a reading of Sheebeg Sheemore, a piece based on the famous Irish tune arranged by Pr. Hopkins (Music Education chair at UofM) for strings and piano. Most campers and 4 faculty members joined in, with pianists playing the part of the double bass, or playing one hand of the piano part. This was a lot of fun! Following the reading, one teacher, who is both a pianist and violinist, deemed that session one of the highlights of the camp! Later on Mr. Lopez demonstrated, in a very interactive and playful fashion, how one could start improvising.
It should be noted that the 20 registered students came from the studios of 13 piano teachers, of 4 violin teachers and 1 cello teacher. Six students played two instruments including violin, cello, viola, flute and clarinet. Also because three of our guest artists have strong ties with prominent music organizations (UofM, Great Lakes Performing Artists, A2 Symphony, Concordia College, A2 Community Music School) the reputation of the camp is growing and we hope to keep attracting young musicians. Finally, campers are provided other opportunities throughout the year to continue the learning process they started at the camp. Some participated in a master class organized by the Faber Piano Institute in October 2018, an ensemble recital at Kerrytown Concert House in December 2018 an another master class organized by the Ann Arbor Community Music School in January 2019.
The AAAPTG is very grateful of the support of both the AAAPTG Foundation and the Faber Piano Institute.