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Passion For Music

Fifth-grader a piano virtuoso

March 16, 2013
By Beth Christian Broschart Staff Writer ( , The Inter-Mountain

A local fifth-grade student hopes to hit a high note for his college future.

Liam Purkey, the son of Gene and Lisa Purkey, is working to attain a scholarship to attend the prestigious Juilliard School in New York to study music.

Laim has taken piano lessons from instructor Eloise Federer for four years, and he takes guitar lessons from his father. He said he wanted to begin playing the piano because he liked to hear music.

Article Photos

The Inter-Mountain photos by Beth Christian Broschart
Liam Purkey, the son of Gene and Lisa Purkey, is working to attain a scholarship to attend the prestigious Juilliard School in New York to study music.

"My parents found Mrs. Federer when I said I would like to play the piano," Liam said. "They never realized my talent before I started working with her. I am very fortunate because she is a really good teacher. I would not have gotten this far without her help."

Federer said she is thrilled to have Liam as a student.

"He is so dedicated, which makes for success," Federer said. "He is only in the fifth grade, but he has a very serious attitude toward his music. He enjoys performing for others and sharing his talents."

Federer said she teaches theory and harmony, which she integrates with her lessons.

"He has written and composed his own music," Federer added. "He has received superior plus rating from music adjudications. The judges are very impressed with him, and find him to be a joy."

Liam said he has written 10 songs for the piano, including "The Mystery," "Journey Through the Country," "The Jazz Song" and "The Broken Song." He said he would figure out the cords first, then add notes and put it together.

"I enjoy writing, composing and playing my own songs," he said. "Some of them can be googled on You Tube."

In school, Purkey plays percussion in his elementary school band.

"This is good because I know how to keep the beat and stay in time," Purkey said.

Purkey attends St. Brendan Catholic Church and is a Boy Scout with Troop 88.

"I also like school and enjoy playing basketball," Purkey said.

Recently, Liam played at the ArtsBank Auction. And when school is canceled, his grandfather takes him to a local nursing home to perform.

"If there is no school during the week, and sometimes on weekends, I take Liam to Valentine's Personal Care Home to play for the residents," said Joe Walker, Liam's grandfather. "He really enjoys playing for the folks there. I think this is a great thing for a child his age to do. We are proud of him."

Liam's parents said they also are proud of him and encourage him to practice, practice and practice some more.

"I like playing jazz and classical music," Liam said. "When I go to Valentine's to play, the people really enjoy listening to the music. I enjoy playing for them as well."

Purkey started playing the piano in his church when he was in second grade.

"I wanted to play in my church," Purkey said. "I thought it would be great to help out and it turned out well."

Those at his church appreciate his talent.

"Liam is a wonderful example of how a young person can serve the church at an early age by offering his musical talent," said the Very Rev. Father Donald X. Higgs of St. Brendan Parish. "I was surprised to find Liam was playing, because you could not see him behind the piano. He does a great job, and I hope he will continue."

Purkey said he practices every day for at least an hour.

"I constantly strive to move up in the music I play," Purkey said. "I perform in two recitals a year, one in spring and one in fall.

"My favorite song is "The Entertainer," he added.



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