By Emily Hernandez, Ranger Reporter:
Amarillo College’s Suzuki Program is celebrating its 40th anniversary Sept.1 and 2 in Amarillo, Texas.
“The 40th anniversary of the Suzuki Strings program of Amarillo holds special meaning. Not only is this year the 40th celebration, but that also marks the past 39 years of as years of hard work, dedication, and success on the parts of the teachers, parents and students,” said Carlie Cates, violin instructor and pre-twinkle group.
The Suzuki Program has affected many lives since its origination. Children can start as young as 3 years old and stay engaged until they graduate high school. After high school, Suzuki students can manage to still stay involved with the program.
“When I first began playing violin at the age of 6, it was with this very same Amarillo College Suzuki Strings program,” Cates said. “My teachers, Helen Gerald and Tiffany McDaniel, taught me from the age of 6 until I began my first year of college. I graduated the Suzuki program, and, inspired by the love and success of my Suzuki teachers, became a music education major. The Suzuki community has affected my life far and beyond anything I could have expected, and the wonderful staff continue to inspire me to be the best person and musician I can,” said Cates.
There will be a cookout to kick off the anniversary celebration Friday Sept.1 at Amarillo College’s Music Building where current and former Suzuki students and their families can mingle and relax.
“Friday will be a wonderful, casual time for our former students to see each other, share with our currently enrolled families, catch up with former teachers, and visit our updated facilities,” said Camille Day Nies, music department chair and Suzuki Program coordinator.
Saturday, Sept. 2, there will be a play-in where alumni, current students, and their families from the past 40 years can come together to play music at the Amarillo Globe News Center of Performing Arts.
“This play-in will be so cool. We have invited any alumni who would like to join our current kids onstage and play along. I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of familiar faces,” said Katy Moore, violin instructor.
The celebration will also include a free concert open to the public. It will sample the abilities of the Suzuki students from pre-twinkler to advanced and other special guests. “The musical artists who will be performing Saturday night are truly top in their fields,” Nies said.
The weekend’s events are free but donations will be taken to support the Suzuki Program.