Camps with a Monster Twist June 24 – July 1 for Students and Teachers

June 7th, 2007 by Adam

Fans of the infamous PSU piano monster will have several opportunities to visit the monster at summer camp between June 24 and July 1 at the Silver Center for the Arts on Main Street in Plymouth.

More than 80 6th- through 12th-grade students will study and perform in “Monster Festivals” sponsored by the Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance at the Silver Center for the Arts.

The 15th annual Junior Piano Monster Festival will be held June 24 – 27 for students entering grades 6 – 9 in the fall, and the 11th annual Senior Festival is June 28 ¬– July 1 for students entering grades 9 – 12. Students entering grade nine may choose either camp.

A teachers’ seminar is scheduled for June 26 – 27 during the Junior Festival, with sessions on topics including memorization, practicing and mapping music; and sessions with festival piano ensemble conductor Robert Vandall on practicing scales and playing duets. Teachers may also perform Vandall’s Jubilation in the final concert.

Students are grouped by ability level and will participate in rehearsals and coaching sessions of previously-prepared ensemble music with familiar titles such as Eine Kleine Nachtmusic, America the Beautiful and Theme from “Schindler’s List,” to lesser known and original works for multi-hand piano such as Turquoise Skies or I Wanna Be a Spy and Bijou Rag.

Public concerts will be held Wednesday, June 27 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, July 1 at 4 p.m. in the Hanaway Theatre. Tickets are $7 general admission.

Monster Festival students live on campus while they study ensemble techniques, musicianship and specialty topics such as guitar, digital keyboard ensemble, improvisation, conducting and score reading, composition, and memorization techniques, and participate in master classes.

Junior Festival students will all sing in the festival chorus, rehearse percussion ensembles and participate in team challenges in the areas of music history, music theory and piano technique.

Continuing education units or graduate credits are available for teachers who participate in the two-day teacher seminar June 26 and 27.

Robert Vandall of New Philadelphia, Ohio, returns to Plymouth for an encore as piano ensemble conductor. Vandall and his wife teach in their independent piano studio, and have traveled extensively, presenting workshops to teacher groups across the U.S. His writing and arranging of piano education materials come directly from his contact with students, and he has more than 400 piano solos and ensemble pieces in print.

The conductor of the digital keyboard orchestras will be seven-year veteran Donna Smith, from Gold Canyon, Arizona, who is returning for her eighth year. A music educator, accompanist and church musician, she is an advocate for the integration of music technology into traditional piano instruction. She has been a clinician at teacher workshops throughout the country and her articles have been featured in a number of keyboard magazines.

The founder and director of the PSU Monster Piano Festivals is Carleen Graff, professor of music at Plymouth State. An active performer in solo and chamber recitals, Graff holds Master Teacher certification from the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) and was the 1993 NHMTA Teacher-Member of the Year and nominee for the MTNA National Teacher of the Year.
For information about the festivals, call Dr. Carleen Graff, (603) 535-2313. Monster Festival information is online at

Staff for the institute are chosen for their ability to work with young musicians. They are committed and highly qualified individuals drawn primarily from the PSU faculty, staff, alumni and students.

For concert ticket information, call the Silver Center box office at (603) 535-ARTS. If special accommodations are needed for persons with disabilities, please call in advance.