The lights dimmed in the Grand Ballroom, and a hush fell over the audience as they anticipated the entrance of Tf3. Thunderous applause welcomed musicians Zach De Pue, Ranaan Meyer and Nick Kendall (grandson of American Suzuki pioneer John Kendall). Looking sharp in their suits, they expressed an aura of true pleasure at being invited to share their unique artistry and soul.

Tf3 treated the audience to many wonderful selections, including Ranaan’s original compositions and fusions of classical, bluegrass, and jazz. A blazing version of “Orange Blossom Special” was reminiscent of their unexpected 2003 gig in Philadelphia, when a power failure had left the Mann Center for the Performing Arts dark in the middle of a concert. Orchestra and Tf3 members, Zach and Ranaan entertained the audience with an impromptu jam session that drove the crowd wild! Their flawless technique and love of music captured and rejuvenated us as well.

At one point during the concert, Nick seemed to be having difficulty keeping his violin in tune and pleaded, “Teacher, help!” He extended his arms forward, holding out his violin and bow. From the audience stepped the calm and assured Ronda Cole. Nick quickly crossed his arms to give Ronda his violin and bow and bowed with reverence acknowledging his years of study with her. As the audience realized the significance of this gesture, unrestrained applause filled the hall! Nick and Ronda exchanged a quick bear hug, and Tf3 continued with their charming brand of on-stage banter mixed with world-class musicianship.

Later in the concert we were privileged to view Tf3’s first music video, “Stronger,” which debuted online in October 2011, bringing a positive anti-bullying message to thousands of viewers. Outreach was a major theme at the conference and this video was an engaging presentation of what can be accomplished when there is a desire to reach out to others to make a positive difference in their lives.

At the concert’s end, a standing ovation brought Zach, Nick, and Ranaan back to the stage for an encore. They performed “Amazing Grace,” a fitting conclusion for our tender feelings of gratitude for this celebratory moment. Bravo Tf3!