Board Chair Teri Einfeldt opened the SAA’s 2010 Annual General Meeting, welcoming and thanking everyone who came.

Marilyn Kesler talked about this summer’s institutes. With 67 institutes planned, there are 10 more than in 2009 and 4 more than the average number over the past six years! 32 states are to hold one or more institutes, and the eight to be held in Canada will take place in six different provinces. In addition to the North American Summer Institutes, Festivals, which are the Latin American equivalent of Institutes, were held in Mexico, Peru, El Salvador and Costa Rica. A few of the additional sites where teacher training was held included Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.

John Kendall teaching a young violin student

John Kendall

Image by Arthur Montzka

Marilyn also announced the establishment of a new fund, the John and Catherine Kendall Teacher Training Fund. The Board is very pleased to be able to honor the Kendalls through this special endeavor. Further details are to be announced in the fall.

Marilyn O’Boyle treated the group with some encouraging statistics about SAA’s growth and accomplishments. The average membership during the previous year (June, 2009 to May, 2010) was 7,500. 84% of the membership is in the US; 9% in Canada and 1% each in Argentina and Brazil. 47 additional countries are also represented within the membership.

Betsy Stuen-Walker, Board Secretary, thanked outgoing Board members: Carol Ourada and Ruth Engle Larner are finishing three-year terms in July. As part of her Board service, Carol has chaired the Audit and the CLC Award Committees. Ruth has served as Chair of the Development Steering Committee. Both will be greatly missed. [Read more from Carol and Ruth in the late summer edition of the ASJ.]

Mark George, Chair-Elect and Chair of the Nominating Committee, introduced and welcomed four new Board members will begin service this August.

Dan Browning

Dan Browning is the founder and President of DB Consulting, Inc., where he provides business services to corporate clients and consulting services to nonprofits. He and his wife Kirsten (a Suzuki violin instructor and the Director of the Atlanta Suzuki Institute) live in the Atlanta area.

Sarah Bylander Montzka

Sarah Bylander Montzka teaches viola and musicianship at the Music Institute of Chicago, where she founded and directs the annual Violapalooza! workshop, now in its seventh year. Sarah is also the Associate Director of the Colorado Suzuki Institute.

Image: Patricia Purcell

Patricia Purcell

Image by Patricia Purcell

Patricia Purcell teaches in a unique Suzuki in the Schools program in the Hurst-Euless-Bedford School District. As a member of the North Texas Suzuki Association, she has organized teacher development workshops and assisted in establishing teacher training at the DFW WOW Suzuki Institute.

MaryLou Roberts

MaryLou Roberts

Image by MaryLou Roberts

MaryLou Roberts teaches Suzuki Guitar in Michigan and is coordinator of the Ann Arbor Suzuki Institute. Since becoming a Teacher Trainer in 2006, MaryLou has conducted courses in South America, Australia, United States and Ireland.

Certificate of Achievement Level 1

Sue Baer gave an overview of the SAA’s new program, the Certificate of Achievement, Level I, which was launched during the Virtual Leadership Retreat one year ago. This Certificate is available by application to teachers who have met the criteria for experience and membership, completed the required courses (Units through 4, plus SPA or Practicum) and whose essay and video material are approved. Beautiful certificates were presented to these recipients:

Violin recipients:

Charles D. Krigbaum, TX
Meg Lanfear, IL
Beth Novak, IL
Daina Volodka Staggs, IL

Cello recipients:

Blake Brasch, IL
Sally Gross, IL

Piano recipients:

Malgosia Lis, CT
Sheryl Loyd, CA
J.B. Taylor, KY

Webmaster Jenny Ferenc described some highlights of the SAA website, including:

Suzuki Association of Ontario

Ellen Berry presented the official certificate of affiliation to SAA’s newest Chapter Affiliate, Suzuki Association of Ontario. Vicki Blechta, Chair, accepted the affiliation certificate. SAO is the 10th Affiliate and our first Canadian affiliate. Ellen stated:

“The SAA is pleased to award Chapter Affiliate status to the Suzuki Association of Ontario, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2008. The SAO is the largest organization of Suzuki teachers in Canada, and represents the entire province covering 415,000 square miles, which is about the combined area of Texas and California. Its first Chair was Linda Judiesch, followed by David Gerry, Dorothy Jones, Gail Lange, Susan Gibbon, Elayne Ras, and its current Chair, Vicki Blechta. The SAO is a vibrant organization, committed to promoting and supporting the Suzuki Method of learning by nurturing excellence in education.”

Suzuki Principles in Action (SPA) Logo

Carol Ourada gave an update on the Suzuki Principles in Action course (SPA). It has now been given 3 times and 60 people have participated so far. More sessions are being scheduled for the fall months. SPA is a course designed to help teachers incorporate Suzuki’s principles effectively in their teaching. If you would like SAA to set up a course in your local area during the 2010-2011 academic year, please contact Pam Brasch: [javascript protected email address]

To end the meeting on a fun, interactive note, the board involved the membership in an informal survey. Several board members acted as baseball pitcher, batter and catcher. The batters went through many contortions trying to hit the ball out into the audience, but failed every time. Fortunately, our catcher had an excellent arm, and on catching each pitch, was able to throw the ball to various audience members. The lucky member who caught the ball was awarded with a “Team Suzuki” ball cap, and was asked to read a trivia question aloud to the audience. Those who could answer “yes” to the question stood for congratulatory applause.

These were the questions:

  • Who has given to the SAA Annual Fund drive?
  • Who has been to an International Suzuki Conference?
  • Who does social networking (Twitter, Facebook, etc)?
  • Who has visited the SAA website?
  • Who has volunteered with the SAA (board members, committee members, etc)?
  • Who has met Dr. Suzuki?
  • Who has heard the Suzuki tour group perform?
  • Who has taken SAA training beyond Book 1?
  • Who was a Suzuki kid?
  • Who has children who are/were Suzuki kids?
  • Who is here for their first SAA Conference experience?
Baseball game at the 2010 Annual General Meeting. Sue Baer and Mark George.

Sue Baer and Mark George win one for Team Suzuki

“It was a fun activity which gave the board a chance to show some humor and maybe a little acting ability. Seeing the numbers of members who could respond with a “yes” to so many of our questions was quite exciting, and we saw many engaged, smiling faces among the membership as the meeting drew to a close.”
–Ruth Engle Larner, Baseball game organizer