Meriden has launched an exciting cocurricular activity for its student pianists, Club 88. The club takes its name from the piano’s eighty-eight keys and girls meet once per week at lunchtime to play the Steinway concert grand piano in Wallis Auditorium.
Meriden’s Director of Music, Ms Jodie Spooner-Ryan, said Club 88 provides an opportunity for students to build upon their understanding of piano technique, repertoire and performance skills.
“We are looking to encourage the girls in a supportive performance environment and this idea has clearly appealed to our young musicians, with over twenty girls attending Club 88’s first meeting,” she said.
“It was great to see the girls taking turns to perform on the Steinway and the other members listening attentively and giving positive feedback. The club will provide its members with opportunities for special masterclasses and performances and the regular meetings will allow the girls to develop their solo repertoire skills, perform piano duets and learn skills in jazz piano improvisation.”
Choir Captain, Yiyang Liu, is a pianist at AMusA level who is also a percussionist. An enthusiastic and accomplished musician, Yiyang is already a member of Meriden’s Choir, Concert Band and Symphony Orchestra. She said Club 88 filled a gap for a more informal performance opportunity.
“I joined Club 88 because I saw a unique opportunity, not just to play on the beautiful Steinway, but also to be able to play with other musicians, which is something a pianist does not often experience; the piano is quite a lonesome instrument and it’s nice to have company.”
“I was pleasantly surprised at the range of members and music involved in Club 88. Girls from Year 7 to Year 11 have joined and we get together to play music from a wide variety of genres. The club is a great way of bringing girls with similar interests together so we can build friendships, learn new music and grow our performance abilities.”
Year 7 student, Charlotte Ring, is one of the group’s youngest members. Charlotte loves to sing and has joined the Intermediate Singers. She also plays violin in Meriden’s Intermediate Chamber Strings and Sinfonia. She was excited to join Club 88 in order to share her passion for the piano.
“I love listening to the repertoire of the other girls and also getting a chance to perform,” she said.
“Lots of positive feedback is provided, which is very encouraging and it is a friendly environment in which to play.”