Utah State University’s “Monster Concert” has been a USU Youth Conservatory tradition since the 1980s but it appears this year’s event will be the biggest in history. Kevin Olson is the new Director of the Youth Conservatory. “This is my first year here.” he said. “I used to think putting my own piano recital together with 30 or 40 kids was a big deal but this event Saturday will include 373 pianists, and counting. It’s going to be pretty wild.” This year’s Monster Concert is Saturday at 6 p.m. in USU’s Kent Concert Hall featuring 20 pianos, the Cache Children’s Choir, a special guest monster and the nearly 400 student pianists. Everybody gets a turn at the piano playing songs consistent with the theme focusing on music from around the world. “Some kids will be doing more than once piece. For most pieces we’ll have all pianos going with two kids on each piano so for many of the pieces we will have as many as 40 kids up on stage. “They will be playing duets and other ensemble pieces I have found. They are world folk songs. There are about 18 pieces and the kids have been working on these since last November; they signed up for ones they were interested in.” Olson said the students range in age from 4 to 18, members of the Youth Conservatory and members of the community. “We have invited piano teachers from all over Cache Valley to recommend students and they are bringing them up to be part of this.” A special contribution to this year’s event will include some pieces featuring the Cache Children’s Choir. “This is something that hasn’t been done before as part of this concert,” said Olson. “We thought it would be a natural fit to combine them. They will perform an African folk song, a couple of other numbers and the finale, ‘It’s Small World,’ and so we will have another 100-150 of those kids on the stage.” Olson was unaware another part of his job description in preparation for this concert was the time he spent during the Christmas break writing skits and short readings that will be presented with the help of a costumed monster. “It’s a real light, fun concert for the family and we’re trying to keep it fun and funny so we’ll get the kids involved in the skits, as well.” Tickets are available at arts.usu.edu or the College of the Arts Box Office. “We will also have a ticket clerk available at our dress rehearsal Saturday morning,” said Olson, for those unable to attend the concert that night. Tickets are $3 general admission, $10 per family and free for USU students with ID.
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