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New Mexico State University

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NMSU announces Piano Camp and Monster Concert for children, teens

Imagine 12 pianos on stage for a giant ensemble concert where Las Cruces area children from 8-12 and teens from 13-18 will come together for a grand finale. The concert is the crowning event of New Mexico State University's fourth annual Piano Camp and Monster Concert on Saturday, June 2, at 3p.m. in the Atkinson Recital Hall on campus. The camp begins with six weeks of training with NMSU music faculty before students take the stage.

Students posing with certificates on stage
Student participants pose for a photo with their certificates after the final concert at Atkinson Recital Hall during the Third Annual NMSU Piano Camp in June 2011. (Photo by Carol Placchi)

Laura Spitzer, NMSU associate professor of piano, will work with co-directors NMSU music music faculty Lela York and Leah Houpt as well as several assisting teachers to coach students in large and small groups and provide them one-on-one practice supervision in April and May before the concert finale in June.

Spitzer spent nearly 20 years traveling with her Steinway grand packed into her truck from 1984 to 2003, bringing classical music to hundreds of rural communities and schools throughout the U.S. and western Canada. York, who has performed in countless solo and chamber music recitals across the country, is on NMSU's teaching faculty and manages a private studio. Houpt, who has extensive accompanying experience as a pianist, harpsichordist and organist, has taught class piano at NMSU, and teaches piano privately as well.

"I remember playing in a concert with 50 pianists when I was about 10 or 11, and it was thrilling to create piano music on such a large scale," said Spitzer. "There are many benefits for the kids: the group experience motivates them, they enjoy the social setting, they make like-minded friends, their rhythm improves, their practice habits improve, and the monster concert is an exciting culmination to camp."

Six pre-camp rehearsals will begin on Saturdays between April 14 and May 26 before the final rehearsals in the three days prior to the concert. The children's division will meet from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and the teen division will meet from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Atkinson Recital Hall.
The cost of the camp is $150 and includes more than 13 hours of instruction, 10 hours of pre-camp rehearsals as well as private instruction, lunches and snacks, various supplies and a videographer who will film the camp and concert. Watch part of the grand finale from last year's NMSU piano camp at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LpTAwX9Wvk .

Interested students are encouraged to apply soon, as space is limited. Registration forms may be downloaded at http://music.nmsu.edu/faculty/lspitzer/registration-form . For more information, contact Laura Spitzer at 575-521-0919 or email her at lspitzer@nmsu.edu.