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October 2010

In this issue:

Leadership Retreat: May 27-30, 2011

The next SAA Leadership Retreat will be held Friday, May 27 to Monday, May 30, 2011.

The location is yet to be determined—it should be announced in the next newsletter.

Save the dates and plan on attending!

Flute Dreams Take Flight

Fernando Formigo and flute group from Patagonia, Argentina in front of a billboard advertising their public concert in Asuncion, Paraguay

Fernando Formigo and flute group from Patagonia, Argentina in front of a billboard advertising their public concert in Asuncion, Paraguay

By Kelly Williamson

The excellent quality and affordability of Di Zhao flutes have made dreams come true for a number of students in Latin America, and they are inspiring many others to see their own dreams as a real possibility.

In the fall of 2009, a group of Suzuki flute teachers and students in Canada, the US, and Taiwan contributed to the purchase of a Di Zhao alto and bass flute for the Orquesta de Flauta Traversas de San Martin de los Andes in Patagonia, Argentina.

In September 2010, members of the ensemble traveled to Paraguay to give demonstration concerts in local schools, and participate in master classes in Suzuki pedagogy for twelve teacher workshop participants. The twenty-seven-member tour group included flutists from the ages of seven to adult, and they performed Argentinean folk music as well as standards like Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, the concerto for two flutes in C major by Vivaldi, and Passacaglia by Handel. They made big waves: the teachers who heard them play in Asunción immediately set the goal of founding a flute orchestra in Paraguay over the next few years.

Read more of Flute Dreams Take Flight

Board Nominations

The Board of Directors of the SAA is seeking nominees for board service. We would like to ask you to consider who among your colleagues and associates you like to see involved in shaping the future of the SAA.

Exemplary board nominees might be drawn from your network of parents, former Suzuki students, friends or professional contacts from the corporate, academic or philanthropic communities. Nominees must have a strong belief and dedication to the Suzuki Philosophy and may have specific skills or experience in such areas as higher education, psychology, marketing, business management, fund raising, technology, communications or other areas of knowledge and experience.

Official board responsibilities include representing the ownership in determining and demanding appropriate organizational performance; governing with an emphasis on integrity, vision and continuous learning; producing governance policies and monitoring their implementation; and participating in organizational fund raising.

Board members must attend and productively participate in three multi-day meetings each year and serve on board committees as assigned. In addition, board members must be willing to make a personally appropriate financial contribution to the SAA and participate in various volunteer activities. Board members are imbued with characteristics such as good listening skills, sensitivity, the ability to work as a team and a sense of humor.

If there are individuals whom you would consider as qualified prospective board nominees, or simply admire as leaders, do not hesitate to relay their names, contact information and a brief statement as to why you are suggesting them. The nominating committee of the board will place their names in our pool of potential nominees and begin the process of review, dialogue and skill and experience matching.

Send your nomination ideas to Mark George, Chair of the Nominating Committee, SAA Board of Directors:

Upcoming SPA Courses in Ontario

Upcoming SPA Courses
Nov 11-12, Guleph, ON
Dec 20-21, Toronto, ON

More about SPA, including how to host a course in your area.

Ask the Experts, part 16

Ask the Experts

We have a new series of Ask the Experts columns coming! Here’s the first question:

In this troubled economy, how can teachers be expected to afford the high cost of teacher training?

Read the answer from MaryLou Roberts

The Poor Nobodys

The Poor Nobodies

I met Christopher Becknell at the SAA Conference in May, and enjoyed discovering the band he plays in. Both he and the lead singer have Suzuki backgrounds, and he is an active Suzuki teacher. I thought it would be interesting to have an article in the SAA newsletter about some former Suzuki kids, and what musical adventures they are having now. – Ruth Engle Larner

Begin with a solid bluegrass instrumentation, then add a layer of Wurlitzer piano, stark electric guitar, and haunting female vocals and you have the gypsy-chamber sound of The Poor Nobodys. Easily typified as music from a film score, their original compositions weave unconventional melodies through rustic roots, all the while refining a carefully chaotic meter.

The Poor Nobodys are:

Chris Hepola (Wurlitzer Electric Piano, Melodica)
Eric Struve (Upright Bass)
Christopher Becknell (Violin)
Aaron Cantine (Banjo, Acoustic Guitar)
Chris Duba (Mandolin)
Albert Perez (Electric Guitar, Theremin)
Jenna Wyse (Vocals, Accordion)

Having started at the age of six with just a butter box, violinist Christopher Becknell is now a full-time Suzuki guitar and violin instructor in Lino Lakes, MN. He fondly recalls his first lessons consisted of just showing up, bowing, naming the parts of the instrument, clapping Twinkles, bowing again and going home.

Singer and Accordionist Jenna Wyse grew up with all the kids in her family doing Suzuki violin or piano lessons. “Just the fact that someone was always playing music in our house made the rest of us always want to be playing too, and kept us constantly listening.”

After the release of their first album in May of 2009, The Poor Nobodys were reviewed as “one of the most promising Minneapolis acts today” by Sputnik Music. One year later, the septet continues to fuse the familiar with the peculiar in their newest release, Until I uproot and walk again, which was released in October 2010.

You can hear them at or visit their page on Facebook.

Coming in November…Early Childhood Teacher Training in Texas!

Drumming in ECE Baby Class

Drumming in ECE Class

Dorothy Jones, Suzuki Early Childhood Teacher Trainer has just returned from introducing Suzuki ECE at the New Zealand Suzuki Conference to come to Houston to teach Stage One and Stage Two Prenatal and Baby Years classes in Houston, Texas.

Not familiar with Suzuki Early Childhood Education? Go to for a complete description.

To participate in this class, contact Danette ASAP at 832-886-1745, or go to to print an application form.

The class is November 10-14 in Stafford, TX (a suburb of Houston).

Don’t miss it!

ECC Grant: The Concession and Paying It Forward

Every Child Can!

If you don’t live in the US (and thus weren’t on the mailing list for our ECC grant contest), read about the outcome below:

Due to circumstances beyond our control, we did not win the Every Child Can grant.

A mathematician who was also in our 50k category and was part of a coalition helped me estimate with certainty that we were getting between 3,500 and 7,000 votes every day in September, which under normal circumstances would have been more than enough votes to end the month in the top 10 and in the money.

There were 8 or 9 groups in our category that I am sure were not submitted in the spirit that Pepsi promoted for this contest. There are many more details that go with this shady story and I would be glad to get them off my chest (um, I mean share :) ) with you in person down the road, but it’s time to get to the positive.

Read the rest of ECC Grant: The Concession and Paying It Forward

90 new members joined the SAA in September. Welcome!

Events: November


Pasadena, CA
Western Springs, IL
West Barnstable, MA
New York, NY
Stafford, suburb of Houston, TX
Pleasant Grove, UT
Greenwood, VA


Edmonton, AB
Guelph, ON
Oshawa, ON

Other Countries

Ciudad de México, Mexico
Puebla, Mexico

Events: December


Winston Salem, NC


Toronto, ON

All upcoming events

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