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Forty fingers and two pianos at the Art Gallery

Members of FOURtitude perform at the Crowsnest Pass Public Art Gallery on March 12, 2023. Devin Brady photo.

Devin Brady

Mar 15, 2023

Crowsnest Pass Art Gallery hosts FOURtitude, a piano ensemble from the University of Lethbridge Music Conservatory

FOURtitude, a piano ensemble from the University of Lethbridge Music Conservatory, formed in 2019 and made their debut on March 10, 2020. The group consisting of Dr. Deanna Oye, Cheryl Emery-Karapita, Brad Parker and Kevin Ngo took over the Art Gallery on Sunday afternoon with a lively performance followed by a masterclass to connect with local students.

The Crowsnest Pass Art Gallery was filled Sunday with families of young emerging pianists to enjoy a concert of familiar ensemble favourites and music you would normally hear from an orchestra performed as a piano piece. Unlike a piano concerto, the ensemble had two pianos between the four artists.

“Piano is usually a solo activity... we are pianists who enjoy working with other people,” Emery-Karapita said before the show.

Elegance is the single word that came to mind during the concert. Groups of two, three and four played together, working in harmony with at least four hands to each piano. The final composition involved eight hands or forty fingers on a single piano. The group didn’t just stop there with the showmanship. They had choreographed a skit to accompany the piece involving a bicycle helmet, a selfie and breakout dance sessions. The audience was encouraged to join in on the fun and dance along with Parker when he jumped up from the bench. The quartet is set to perform in Calgary in May “Taking the act on the road” according to Oye. “We enjoy performing in a variety of venues” she said while discussing the tour. They hope to be able to connect with students all across Alberta and help them with their piano studies.

“I think we all enjoy teaching as much as collaborating,” Ngo said.

The Lethbridge Department of Music and Conservatory will be hosting the Lethbridge Piano Intensive (LPI) from July 9-15. During this time students will work with artist teachers from the U of L as well as invited guests. The intensive is divided into three age groups, seven to 12, 13 to 20 and Adult. For those coming from out of town, there is accommodation available at the university.

“The goal of this program is to provide students of all ages and skill levels an inspiring experience to learn, grow and make lasting friendships with other motivated pianists,” said Ngo.

The afternoon concluded with a masterclass, allowing local students to perform for the quartet and gain valuable insight on their techniques to prepare for the upcoming Crowsnest Pass Music festival March 20 -24. 

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