Monster of a Concert May 1 at PSU

April 28th, 2008 by Adam

Photo Caption: Jeannie Goodwin, a long-time Monster participant teacher from Dover, and student Devin Chaloux rehearse on stage at the Silver Center for a Monster Concert.

Plymouth, N.H.—Some 120 students and teachers will participate in two-, four- and six-hand piano works in a daylong rehearsal and concert May 1 at PSU.

The 14th Biennial Monster Concert will be held at 7:30 p.m. at the Silver Center for the Arts. Students and teachers will be attending from Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

Have you ever seen a piano keyboard occupied by 20 fingers, or 30 or even 40 fingers, often competing for the same keys in split-second timing? It’s a monstrous feat, but the performers are up to the challenge. The players have practiced their pieces at home, but have only one day to rehearse as an ensemble, with multiple pianos on stage.

Monster Concert performers work under the direction of a conductor in an ensemble format, a new experience for many pianists who have previously experienced only solo or duet performance.

This year’s guest conductor is Joyce Grill from La Crosse, Wis. Faculty emerita of the University of Wisconsin¬–La Crosse, Gill has had extensive teaching experience. She is a well-known composer of compositions in a wide variety of styles for Alfred Publishing Company. She also founded the La Crosse Area Music Teachers Association and served as its first president.

Several of Grill’s compositions will be featured on the concert program, including “Cancun,” “Out of Tune March,” and “Rock On, Plymouth” which was written especially for the PSU Monster Concert.

Other more familiar works range from Pachelbel’s “Canon in D,” “Maple Leaf Rag,” and “By the Beautiful Blue Danube” to “Rondo Alla Turca” by Mozart and Spanish Dance” by Moszkowski. The concerts concludes with a rousing rendition of Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes,” a Monster Concert tradition at PSU.

The Monster concert format was brought to PSU by Professor of Piano Carleen Graff more than 20 years ago. In recent years, she has included works for digital piano orchestra on the program. “This is a good way to share and showcase the resources of our regional University with musicians from throughout New England,” said Graff.

Digital orchestra works will include “Mozart Visits Arkansas,” the “Hallelujah Chorus,” “In the Mood,” and an arrangement by Graff of Haydn’s “Surprise Symphony.”

Tickets for the 2008 Piano Monster Concert are $7 for adults, $6 for seniors and youth and free to PSU students with I.D. at the Silver Center Box Office, (603) 535-ARTS or (800) 779-3869.

For information contact Dr. Graff at carleeng@plymouth.edu.

For general information about Plymouth State University arts and events, log on to This Week at PSU at http://thisweek.blogs.plymouth.edu.