Congratulations to Grace McMullen!

Congratulations to Grace McMullen for placing as a finalist at the graduating senior level in the Charlotte Piano Teacher's Forum Auditions! She will be performing one of her contest pieces at an awards recital in May. Grace has been taking piano from me since she began about nine years ago. Now she will be going to college this fall where she plans to continue her study in piano. I'm proud of you Grace! You will be greatly missed!

Vivace Strings Upcoming Appearances

As the instructor of the USCHAP string ensemble, Vivace Strings, I would like to invite you to come and hear our upcoming performances. We have a great lineup for the spring season:
Downtown Monroe Spring Art Walk -  Friday, April 15, 2011 (6pm at First Baptist on Main & 7:30pm at the Loft, 211 N. Main St.) - free admission
Red Cross Rhapsody in Red Charity Ball - Saturday, May 7, 2011 6–7pm
Waxhaw Women’s Club Benefit for Loaves & Fishes - Friday, May 13, 2011
Waxhaw Spring Fest - Saturday, May 14, 2011 10am
New South Music Festival - Saturday, May 21, 2011 (Pre-concert and dinner music)

Upcoming Studio Events and Competitions

Volunteer Opportunities: Volunteer to help the Charlotte Piano Teacher’s Forum with the Concerto Auditions or the Solo Auditions and receive lots of volunteer hours for school and the satisfaction of helping the music community.  Let me know if you would like to volunteer or have any questions about what it involves.

Christen’s Music Studio Flute and Piano Winter Recital (required for all students): DATE: Saturday, December 11 PLACE: Held at Harvest Chapel in Indian Trail TIME: 2:00pm, with the practice for flutists beginning at 1:00pm

Festival Hymn Playing Event: DATE: Saturday, February 5, 2010 PLACE: Matthews United Methodist Church, 801 South Trade Street, Matthews, NC TIME: Your child's time to play will be announced one week before the Festival. REPERTOIRE: The student will perform two hymns from the required Federation List (with music) for the judge.

Federation Hymn Playing is a NON-COMPETITIVE event, meaning that students are not compared with each other, they are simply critiqued on how accurately they express details of the music as it is printed.

Festival Piano Scholarship (Charlotte District): DATE: Saturday, February 12, 2010 PLACE: Queens University of Charlotte E.H. Little Fine Arts Center, corner of Selwyn and Wellesley Avenues TIME: Your child's time to play will be announced one week before the Festival. REPERTOIRE: The student will perform two pieces from memory. One piece is from the required Federation List, the second piece from a non-American composer. Student must play a piece from the higher levels of the Federation list, beginning with the Moderately Difficult I. SCHOLARSHIP: Students who place (1st or 2nd in their category) at the District Level have the opportunity to compete for a scholarship on the state level on April 17th at UNC Greensboro.

Festival Piano Solo Event: DATE: Saturday, February 26, 2010 PLACE: First Baptist Church, Queens University, and CPCC TIME: Your time to play will be announced one week before the Festival. REPERTOIRE: The student will perform two pieces from memory. One piece is from the required Federation List, the other is taken from appropriate classical repertoire chosen by the teacher and student.

Federation Festival is a NON-COMPETITVE event, meaning that students are not compared with each other, they are simply critiqued on how well they express what the composer has written on the page.

Charlotte Piano Teachers Forum Auditions: DATE: Saturday, March 12, 2011 (Auditions and Theory Test) PLACE: Queens University of Charlotte, E.H. Little Fine Arts Building (corner of Selwyn and Wellesley Avenues) Finals: Sunday, March 13, 2011 Place: Queens University TIME: To be announced one week before the Auditions DIVISIONS: Grades K-12 REPERTOIRE REQUIREMENTS: Students must perform from memory three compositions from the required Piano Teacher's Forum List (one piece from each of three musical eras). THEORY TEST: All entrants are required to take a theory test, either before or after they perform for the judge(s). The entrants must take the test in the same division in which they played. The theory test must be taken by 1:00 PM. FINALS: Students who have won top scores in their studio on Saturday are eligible to compete in a finals competition the following day. Theory test scores are used to break ties in playing scores. AWARDS: The Forum recognizes the three top winners of each division in the Auditions by awarding Scholarships to those entrants at the May Honors Recital. At the discretion of the judges all available scholarships may not be awarded. Winners must perform in the honors recital in order to receive monetary awards. HONORS RECITAL: The three Forum Auditions winners in each of the six divisions shall be eligible to perform in the Honors Recital on May 6, 2011 at Sharon United Methodist Church

Christen’s Music Studio Flute and Piano Spring Recital (Required for all students): DATE: May - TBA PLACE: Harvest Chapel in Indian Trail

Chamber Music at St. Peter’s Episcopal

The Charlotte Area Foundation for Music and Handcrafted Art presents a chamber music concert featuring Kellan Toohey on clarinet with the Union Symphony String Players performing the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings by Brahms. There will also be performances by the Master’s Musicians String Ensemble, Tamar Rowe on harp, Timothy Dinsmore on guitar, and the Union Symphony Youth Chamber Players, Vivace Strings. The concert will be held on Saturday, November 13th at 7:30pm at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church on the 2nd floor parish hall. The church is located at the corner of Tryon and 7th St. There is free parking behind Red Rocks Cafe. Tickets are $10 and a reception will follow the concert. Proceeds for the concert will go to support young artists and musicians through grants and scholarships funded by the Charlotte Area Foundation for Music and Handcrafted Art.

Vivace Strings Plays at Deer Stone Lodge

Vivace Strings will be playing at Deer Stone Lodge, home of Dr. and Mrs. George Pinsak, for the Dream Home Open House on Saturday, November 6th 2010. This is 120 acre custom built Montana style estate has magnificent panoramic views from 148 over-sized windows. The tour also includes collector automobiles in a porte-cochère, a garden, and green houses. Home baked refreshments, mulled wine and punch will be served. The open house will go from 2:00pm until 6:00pm, and Vivace Strings will play for approximately one hour beginning at 3:30. Shuttle service will be provided from the parking lot at Sunset Dr. and Hayne St. in Monroe. Admission (adults only) is $25, and the proceeds will benefit the Union Symphony.

Bravo! Beethoven

Are you looking for something fun and musical to do this coming Sunday? Come to the Batte Fine Arts Center at Wingate University for a great concert featuring the music of Beethoven, featuring Sara Saba on the piano. The concert begins at 4:00pm with pre-concert lecture by Mekel Rogers beginning at 3:15. And don't miss our Vivace Strings performance before the lecture at 2:45. Admission is $15 and includes a reception to follow.

Vivace Strings Plays at “Art Walk” in downtown Monroe

The string ensemble that I lead, Vivace Strings, did an hour long performance Friday, October 1st at the Art Walk  in downtown Monroe. The Art Walk is a venue for local artists to display and sell their art at various galleries in the downtown area. Vivace Strings played in the Loft, which is a great open space with excellent acoustics. They did a great job and were received very well. I filled in on the cello and had a great time playing with the group I normally lead. It lent me a whole new perspective, and was also a lot of fun.

USCHAP (Union Symphony Youth Chamber Players) – Vivace Strings

I am excited to be coaching the USCHAP’s advanced string ensemble, Vivace Strings, this year. They are a talented group of musicians and a lot of fun to work with. The group currently consists of nine players who also play with the USYO. Vivace Strings has several upcoming performances, culminating in a performance at the USYO winter concert. Other performances this year will be at the Union Symphony League’s “Tea and Tables”, the UCCAC’s (Union County Community Arts Council’s) “Breakfast For the Arts”, the Downtown Art Walk, the Union Symphony League’s “Dream Home Open House” and at the Waxhaw Woman’s Club concert.

Festivals and Competitions

It's time start preparing for the Charlotte Piano Teacher's Forum and Federation Festivals! My students will all be receiving information  in the next week or two I and hope to have great participation this year. Most of the festivals are fun and non-competitive and a great way to improve your skill on your instrument and measure your progress year to year. There are many different events to choose from, so there is something for everyone.