This story about the Winona Lake Grace Brethren church’s hosting of a Suzuki string program appeared in yesterday’s Warsaw (IN) Times-Union newspaper. Bruce Barlow is coordinating lead pastor of the Winona Lake church:
Suzuki Violinists ‘Camp’ At Winona
BY TERESA SMITH, Times-Union Staff Writer
WINONA LAKE – Children in the Suzuki Violin Camp at Grace Brethren Church this week are as young as 3 and as “old” as 14.
The Suzuki method allows students as young as age 2 to begin violin lessons. Parents agree to play classical performances as background music in the home. The training also includes simply watching others play.
The technique, developed by Dr. Shin’ichi Suzuki of Japan, insists that children can learn music as easily as they learn a language.
There isn’t much watching at this camp. Classes and individual instruction are given by Betty Haag Academy teachers. Teachers from the Winona Lake Suzuki School are assisting.
Local concert-goers will recall a recent appearance in Rodeheaver Auditorium by Haag’s traveling group, The Magical Strings of Youth.
Last month Haag and 40 students toured Italy. The visit overseas included a performance before Pope Benedict XVI at a special Vatican Mass. They were scheduled to play for 30 seconds. Benedict indicated they should continue to play before the crowd of 100,000.
The Haag Academy is in Buffalo Grove, Ill.
Haag, originally from LaPorte, said visits here are like returning home. She attended a church camp in Winona Lake as a child.
The MasterWorks Festival is a great draw, too. It gives the Suzuki students the opportunity to hear world-class performances.
“This little camp is a great spot for nurturing young children,” she said. “With MasterWorks here during the week they receive great value in hearing a really great orchestra.”
Small in stature, Hagg isn’t much taller than her students. The master violinist is all business when it comes to lessons though. Students from as far away as California are attending the camp this week.
“At any musical camp you have to have a high level of faculty to students. What the kids learn can be taken back to their regular teachers. They learn to practice and perform in a professional way.”
She expects the students to perform at high levels. “They don’t need to be mediocre. They realize they can reach a much higher level.”
In the Grace Brethren Church’s auditorium, a small group of young children learn to bring their junior-sized violins to rest, by placing them under their right arm, and the signal to raise them into position for play.
The afternoons are dedicated to recitals and several public performances are planned. In addition to an appearance at the gazebo in the Village At Winona at 1 p.m. today, the children will perform at the Presbyterian Church preschool in Warsaw Friday and give a concert Saturday at 11 a.m. in the Grace Brethren Church.