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 fourth year, the camp expanded in four different ways:
—Twenty students registered from 4 th to 12 th grade, compared to 18 the year before and the group’s age span was wider.
–Due to the rising level of playing, the repertoire included some standard chamber music pieces, such as movements from Haydn, Beethoven and Mendelssohn trios.
–We had an Irish theme and explored repertoire based on Irish folk songs. During the first hour class, campers learned to play 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 is in charge of chamber music at UM Residential College, Violinist David Ormai, a very respected teacher and also member of the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra, Susan Camino, musician and Irish music specialist and Pianist George Lopez from Bowdoin College in Maine.
Mr. Lopez benefited from a grant from the Foundation last year. He was incredibly gracious with his time and energy. He coached advanced repertoire (Haydn and Beethoven trios) as well as the Bumble Boogie by J. Fina, for 2 pianos-8 hands and Waltzer in F by F. Huber for violin, cello and piano duet. Mr. Lopez also conducted a reading of a piece based on the Irish tune, Sheebeg Sheemore, by Mike Hopkins (Music Education chair at UofM.) 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. 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.
The AAAPTG is very grateful of the support the Foundation has given to the Ensemble camp since its inception. Foundation support is acknowledged on the camp webpage, and mentioned by the Director at the end of the camp celebration so that parents and students alike understand that such an endeavor requires the support of other arts and educational organization.