Suzuki Strings workshop, concert engages students, entertains public

ST. GEORGE – Suzuki Strings presents a regional workshop concert on Saturday at 5 p.m. in the Heritage Center, 105 N. 100 East, in Cedar City.  Music from fiddling to Mozart features nearly 100 students from age 3 to adult from throughout the region.  The suggested donation is $5 and the public is invited.

In addition, there is a free parent and teacher meeting with clinicians Jack Ashton and Amanda Clarke on Friday at 7:15 p.m. at the Heritage Center to explore practicing motivation and techniques.

The Saturday concert culminates two days of workshop classes with students from throughout Utah, as well as students coming from Las Vegas and Idaho.  Suzuki Strings Cedar City is a nonprofit organization and appreciates support from the Sterling and Shelli Gardner Foundation, RAP (Recreation, Arts, and Parks), and Cozzens Cabinets.

For 32 years the group has been teaching children and adults to play violin, viola, and cello and many of the students have gone on to professional teaching and performing careers,” said Sara Penny, director.   “Others have found that music enriches their lives no matter what profession they have pursued.  We are fortunate to have a strong team of teachers and pianists helping and we appreciate all of them.”

Suzuki Strings works with the Southern Utah University Music Department and the Suzuki Association of Utah to provide this musical opportunity for students.

Concert music includes “Pizzicato Polka by Strauss, themes from the “Sound of Music”, folk music, and fiddling favorites “Old Joe Clark” and “Cripple Creek”.  Violins, violas and cellists are featured with concerti by Vivaldi and Telemann. Seventeen teachers are preparing the students to participate.  Group class teachers are Chelsea Gardner, Marin Colby, Alexandra Schwartz, Kindal Erickson Ridd, and Sara Penny.  Pianists are Tracey Bradshaw, Rimi Fletcher, Beth Stephenson, Tasha Seegmiller, and Melanie Jeffs.

Ashton recently retired from the Utah Symphony after 48 years, but continues to teach a large violin and viola studio as well as directing the Young Artist Chamber Players. He has served as Music Chairman for Olympus High School and on the faculties of Utah State University and Westminster College.  He has conducted seven European Tours with Rocky Mountain Camerata.  He has taught at numerous institutes and workshops and many of his students have become teachers and professional musicians.  His students have been soloists with the Utah Symphony, Utah Valley Symphony, Southwest Symphony and Orchestra of Southern Utah.

Throughout her 24 years of experience playing the violin, Clarke has had many opportunities to perform solos, to perform in small ensembles, and to perform with symphony orchestras, whether as a soloist or as an orchestra member.  She has experienced various music camps and has been able to work with many renowned Suzuki clinicians. Her experiences have helped her develop a love for music and the positive influence it has had on her life.  Having been a teacher for over ten years has helped her to see even more, the positive effects music has on individuals.  Seeing these effects in others and not just in herself gives her confidence in saying that any student can learn, any student can develop confidence in their playing, and any student can go as far as they desire to go in their pursuit of musical success. She believes music can be a tool for bettering people and society.

Workshop cellists will be taught by Jim Hardy, who teaches cello and directs the chamber music program at Dixie State University. Prior to coming to coming to Dixie, for over 15 years, Hardy was Assistant Principal cellist with the Ballet West orchestra, and also performed with the Utah Symphony Orchestra, the Columbus Symphony, the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, and in numerous studio recordings for film scores, TV shows, PBS specials, IMAX films, and many other projects. He has appeared live with performers as diverse as Itzhak Perlman, Ray Charles, Josh Groban, Peter Cetera, Natalie Cole, Rosemary Clooney, Rod Stewart, and the Moody Blues. He co-founded the Cincinnati Piano Trio, and with this group had the honor of being invited performers at the semi-finals of the national Fischoff Chamber Music competition.

Event details and resources

  • What: Suzuki Strings Regional workshop concert
  • When: Saturday, Nov. 8, at 5 p.m.
  • Where: Heritage Center, 105 N. 100 East, in Cedar City
  • Suzuki Strings website
  • Contact Sara Penny 435-586-2286

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1 Comment

  • Zonkerb November 8, 2014 at 12:08 am

    Better not be any dancing because its illegal in St George

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