Piano Ensemble creates music, friendships

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The University of Indianapolis  Piano Ensemble Festival Concert was performed on Sunday, March 23, at the Ruth Lilly Performance Hall in Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center.  The concert featured a group of pre-college pianists from around central Indiana in duet, duo, trio and quartet performances.


Piano students Annabelle Hock and Halle Booher perform “Rockin Good Times” by Melody Bober during the Indianapolis Piano Ensemble Festival Concert on March 23. (Photo by Tianyang Miao)


The festival coach is Associate Professor of Music Rebecca Sorley. The Piano Ensemble Festival Concert comprised 10 famous songs played by 10 groups of pianists from different areas.

All of the players are students of Irina Gorin, a professional pianist. Each year, her piano students win prizes in local, state, national and international competitions, including many prizes at the World Piano Competition in Cincinnati, Ohio.

“It [the concert] was publicized to the Indianapolis Pianists Association, and there are about 50 pianists associated with that who teach all around the city,” Sorley said. “So teachers could have the opportunity to submit their students to this.”

Sorley said the students benefit a lot by participating in this kind of event and getting to bond with each other.

“Playing the piano is actually a very lonely activity,” she said. “You practice by yourself a lot, and it’s so much fun to be able to play with friends. You just see friendships develop between the kids. ”

Students Annabelle Hock from the Master’s Study and Halle Booher from Center Grove Middle School Central co-performed two songs entitled “Icicle Waltz” and “Rockin’ Good Times” by Melody Bober.

“I like playing piano,” Hock said. “It’s a great art. I’ve learned to actually not get very nervous.”

Booher said being a part of the program has benefited her as a performer.

“It definitely helps with cooperation to make sure we’re listening to each other and getting along,” Booher said. “I used to be nervous, but after this it’s gotten easier watching other people maybe making their own mistakes, thinking I’m not the only one making those mistakes.”

American-born Chinese piano student Chendi Liu is studying at Creekside Middle School. She co-played the song “Spanish Dance, Op. 12, No. 2” with piano student Adelle Murphy.

Liu said that she was very delighted to have this opportunity to get together with her friends.

“You come here, and you play duets with your friends and your siblings,” Liu said. “And then the teacher gives you suggestions and then you can put them into action. And then there’s a recital right afterwards. She [Irina Gorin] is a good teacher. … She always tells me what parts I could do better on and ways to make it better. And every week I can improve them.”

The students’ family members were there for their children’s show. Liu’s mother, Chen Yu is very supportive of her children playing the piano and participating in this kind of activity.

“I think my kids are making big progress both on piano learning and interpersonal communication, basically like cooperation for team work,” she said. “That’s really important.  I hope there will  be more activities like this in the future.”


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