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October 21, 2012

Concert draws large crowd

Teachers, students come together to perform duets

LOGANSPORT — Clinician and composer Melody Bober, music teachers and 103 students performed music from around the world at an inaugural Monster Concert at the  McHale Performing Arts Center Saturday evening — sometimes playing eight pianos at once.

The auditorium was packed for the free piano ensemble concert sponsored by the North Central Indiana Music Teachers Association.

Nancy Spahr, a piano teacher in Peru and president of the NCIMTA, said they have been working out details for the production for a year.

The ages of students playing ranged from kindergarten up to adults, Spahr said.

“Many of the students have been practicing since summertime,” Spahr said. About 22 of her students from the Peru and Logansport area played.

Spahr said that 103 students participated. During the music numbers, teachers filled in as needed, and then “Stars and Stripes Forever” was a teacher-only piece.

Bober conducted duet teams on the eight digital pianos for the performance that began at 5 p.m.

Bober, who lives in Minnesota with her husband, is in great demand at conventions and workshops for piano teachers across North America, her biography stated. She graduated from the University of Illinois with a bachelor’s degree in music education and later received a master of arts degree in piano performance from Minnesota State University. Bober teaches piano in her private studio and has taught 20 years of public school and two years at the university level.

Bober said she was asked by Michelle Roeske a year ago to conduct the Monster Concert, so named because of the large number of pianos.

Seven of the 25 musical selections played at Saturday’s performance were written by Bober.

“The rehearsals went beautifully and I was pleasantly surprised by the level of preparation they had,” Bober said. “I also like coming to Indiana. It’s like coming home. These people are my friends.”

Gary Netherton, a parent of a student performing, said that the main reason the traveled from Lafayette was because of Bober’s involvement.

“She is the great composer,” Netherton said. “Not only is she gifted but her arrangements are the best.”

Netherton’s daughter, a junior in high school, played in five pieces.

Roeske, project director, said that she knew she wanted to teach music all her life.

The concert involved local music teachers from Peru, Logansport, Lafayette and Kokomo. Roeske said all of the students involved were students of the various local piano teachers.

“They’ve been preparing for months and that takes a certain level of dedication,” Roeske said. “My goal is for kids to have fun and play a collaboration.”

Roeske said that the students played for the first time the eight pianos were available together was the rehearsal before the performance on Saturday.

Amie Sites is a reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5150 or

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