Has your state, province, or region considered creating a Chapter Affiliate? The definition of ‘affiliate’ is “a person or organization officially attached to a larger body”. A Chapter Affiliate is a local Suzuki Association that has met the requirements to be endorsed by the SAA, and to receive their support, benefits, and international recognition
The Suzuki Association of Ontario (SAO) was pleased and proud to become the first Canadian Chapter Affiliate in 2010. Ontario is Canada’s most populous province, one that accounts for nearly 40 percent of all Canadians. The SAO continues to be the only provincial organization of Suzuki teachers in Canada. Becoming a Chapter Affiliate was an important and effective way to weave our local Suzuki community into the national and international Suzuki movement.
Through the newly updated SAO website, www.suzukiontario.org, our members and the general public can access a teacher directory and location service, links to member schools, a listing of workshop clinicians and institutes, an electronic copy of the quarterly newsletter, downloadable forms for the annual conference in Ontario, professional development opportunities, and further information about the Suzuki method and the SAO. The SAO also offers group medical, dental, and disability insurance.
Becoming a Chapter Affiliate has benefitted the SAO in a number of ways. We have been able to connect more closely with the teachers in our province. The SAA offers education and support for teachers, students, and parents, as well as providing scholarships for students and teachers. They provide support and resources through their website and newsletters. This testimonial from Gretchen Paxon-Abberger helps express the view of many: “Every SAO member is important and valuable. Our organization works best if we collaborate and join forces rather than do things alone in a vacuum. Giving service to an organization in this way builds a stronger community. We do all of this and more following the SAA code of ethics.”
The highlight of the SAO’s year was the 2015 SAO Conference, held November 7 and 8 in London. The theme of “Suzuki’s Legacy: Alive and Well in Ontario” found four hundred children and their parents taking over Althouse College at Western University for the first day of the Conference weekend. Happy smiles were in evidence everywhere. Every student participated in classes geared to their level, instructed by enthusiastic clinicians. Vox Metropolis gave a unique performance to a packed hall, keeping everyone entertained and captivated. All instrumental participants had a chance to perform in a wonderful afternoon concert, which meant that we heard five-piano performances, violins, cellos, flutes, guitars, and harps, as well as three levels of orchestras. What a wonderful celebration of Suzuki’s legacy we enjoyed. What an opportunity for these children and their families to be part of such a unique event. The chance to interact and perform with other students, and learn from different teachers is one to be treasured.
The comment of one of Gail Lange’s piano parents sums up the Family Day of our Conference very nicely. Dr. Fei Song, mother of Mia and Ben Cadsby, wrote: “I am happily surprised to find out how big the Suzuki community is here in this part of the world. It is wonderful to see the commitment from teachers, parents and, most importantly, children themselves. Lastly it is great to see the friendship developed among the Suzuki children.”
The Day for Teachers on Sunday had 60 teachers gathering from all over Ontario and beyond, to hear about our Suzuki legacy from keynote speakers Dorothy Jones and Karen Kimmett, pioneers of the Suzuki method in Ontario. We were able to meet and share ideas, and gain inspiration for our own studios. Seasoned teachers and new teachers alike were joyfully welcomed to participate in the day. There was a marvelous choice of break-out sessions, ensuring that every instrument was represented, and a wide range of topics covered.
What a privilege we have in Ontario, as a Chapter Affiliate of the SAA, to be able to collaborate and work towards the goal of Dr. Suzuki. His main purpose was not only to impart his love of music to children, but to inspire them to grow to be people with a ‘beautiful heart’. “Where love is great, much can be accomplished”. Thank you Dr. Suzuki and thank you SAA; Suzuki Method is alive and well in Ontario!
Chair, Suzuki Association of Ontario