Suzuki String Program to offer free performance

Suzuki String Program photo  Members of the Suzuki String Program, which involves children and teens, perform.
Suzuki String Program photo
Members of the Suzuki String Program, which involves children and teens, perform.

By Jennifer Robertson

Ranger Reporter


Music at Amarillo College comes in a variety of styles and sizes. Whether it’s the sounds created by children and teens of the AC Suzuki String Program or melodies from members of the band, orchestra or ensembles, the AC music program gives those interested a chance to hear or be heard.

According to the department’s website, its mission is “to be a center of musical learning and cultural enrichment within the community.” Students can enroll in a two-year musical curriculum for transfer students. Non-music majors can take elective music courses, and even younger students can learn to be musicians.

There also are opportunities for students and members of the community to perform for the public. Members of the Amarillo Suzuki Program, the Jazz Ensemble, the Wind Ensemble, the AC Chamber Orchestra, the AC Jazz Band and AC Vocal Jazz Ensemble are scheduled to perform throughout the year and encourage students and the public to attend the events.

AC became the home for the Suzuki Program in 1977. Founded by Amarillo music educators Suzanne Grooms and Helen Gerald, the program started with only violinists, but violas and cello have been added. There now are more than 100 string musicians, with participants beginning their musical careers as early as the age of 3.

Suzuki String students will conduct a book fair and perform from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Barnes & Noble Booksellers at 2415 Soncy Rd.

“The community is invited to hear violin, viola and cello students, ages 3 to 17, perform and learn more about playing a string instrument in a casual, family-friendly setting,” said Camille Nies, Suzuki Program coordinator, assistant professor of music and viola and violin instructor.

The concert is free to the public, but customers in the store can mention “Suzuki” at checkout, and 10 percent of their purchase will benefit the Suzuki students.

Though paid for partly by students in the program, Nies said tuition covers less than 80 percent of the program expenses.

“This is a fundraising event for the Suzuki students,” said Tiffany McDaniel, music department administrative assistant, Suzuki Program administrative assistant and violin teacher.

Other programs in the department also rely on fundraising and donations.

The Amarillo Wind Ensemble relies partially on donations to cover the cost of sheet music, recording equipment, DVD production costs, promotional material for the ensembles, repairing band equipment and scholarships for music students.

Members of the ensemble will perform a free concert titled, “Nationalism” on Nov. 18.

The concert, led by Scott Beckett, director of band and a trumpet professor, will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the AC Concert Hall Theatre.

Another free concert titled “Serenades” will take place at 3 p.m. Nov. 24 in the music building auditorium.

The concert will feature both AC Chamber Orchestra and AC Suzuki students.

“The AC Chamber Orchestra will perform right after the Suzuki orchestra, so it is two concerts in one,” said David Hinds, director of the AC Chamber Orchestra and AC Suzuki Orchestra.

The concert, the third in the 2013 Fall Concert Series, will feature works by Mozart and Tchaikovsky.

”It is a challenge because we are playing difficult music that any professional orchestra would play,” Hinds said.

“We are going to play ‘Eine Kline Nachtmusik’ by Mozart and the ‘Finale from Serenade for Strings’ by Tchaikovsky.”

Those interested in attending series performances will have three more opportunities before the semester ends.

Performances throughout the community also are offered.

“We are really trying to drive up student attendance at our concerts,” McDaniel said.

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