This month’s SAA Volunteer Spotlight features Patricia and Michael Brown, Suzuki parents and active volunteers at the Blue Lake Suzuki Family Camp.
Tell us about yourselves—where you’re from, how you became involved with Suzuki, anything else you’d like to share.
We are from Haslett, Michigan. We became involved with Suzuki when our oldest two children began taking lessons twelve years ago. We had a wonderful teacher, Clarke Bonton, who truly embodied the philosophy of Suzuki. All five of our children have and still are involved with our local Suzuki program. Our oldest daughter, Hannah, is now a freshman at Michigan State University majoring in music education.
Describe the volunteer work you do for Suzuki programs.
We have done a variety of things. We have prepared meals for the guest faculty at our local Suzuki workshops. It has become a tradition for me (Tricia) to help assemble the packets for the Blue Lake Suzuki Family Camp, and to distribute and orient incoming families. My husband, Michael, has been drafted a couple of times to accompany for the beginning readers orchestra at Blue Lake.
What are the high points?
For my husband and I, the high point has been to see our children develop a sense of accomplishment with their music and to develop something in life that they are deeply passionate about.
Probably the greatest challenge has been the logistics of getting five children to lessons, orchestra rehearsals, and Suzuki group classes.
Why do you volunteer?
Volunteering has enriched our Suzuki experience and has given us a chance to give back to an organization that has given our family so much.
How has your volunteer work enhanced your Suzuki experience?
We have been able to be involved with our children at a deeper level. It has also given us the opportunity to interact, encourage and be encouraged by so many families on their Suzuki journey.
What would you say to others to encourage them to volunteer for the SAA?
I would tell them that volunteering has greatly enriched our Suzuki experience and kept us on track with what our children are doing. It has been an experience that has given back to us much more than we have given.