The XVI Festival Suzuki, held in Lima, Peru, was a resounding success by all accounts. Teachers, students and parents left the festival full of energy, resolve, and renewed dedication. All were impressed by the spirit of friendship, cooperation and support amongst our local teachers. The Suzuki Association of Peru has now gained a reputation in America Latina and serves as a model for other such Associations.

Blancamaria Montecinos, the President of the Suzuki Association of Chile sent us this message: “I think that this has been the best organized festival I have seen in Peru. The level and above all the attitude of companionship and solidarity were fantastic. Excellent!”

A total of 232 students and 122 teachers attended this year’s festival. This is our biggest festival so far. Teachers and students traveled from Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Mexico, and for the first time, from Uruguay and El Salvador to join their Peruvian colleagues. The provinces of Peru were represented by teachers and students from Cusco, Arequipa, Trujillo, Pucallpa, Ayacucho, Piura and Huancavelica.

Teacher training courses were offered in piano, violin, cello, and guitar, along with workshops in recorder and early music education. Teacher Trainers were Doris Koppelman (California) and Caroline Fraser (Peru)—piano; Barbara Barber (Colorado) and Marilyn O’Boyle (New Mexico)—violin; Tanya Carey (Illinois)—cello; and William Kossler (North Carolina)—guitar. This year, for the first time, Alejandra Lopera from Arequipa taught recorder classes for teachers and students along with Lucia Nieto. Early childhood courses were given by Roxana Del Barco y Lucha del Rio. The Suzuki philosophy course was team taught by Roberta Centurion and Marilyn O’Boyle. The faculty also included teachers from Lima, Cusco and Arequipa, Peru; Chile, Argentina, Colombia and El Salvador.

This year was especially exciting due to the international nature of the festival and the number of advanced students and young teachers in training. The teachers of the future were full of enthusiasm and energy. Cecilia, the young violinist from Uruguay prepared herself to return to her country to start a revolution!

We were delighted to welcome a large delegation from Colombia: 16 teachers and 18 students! We were also pleased that, despite the crisis in Argentina, and thanks to our scholarship program, a number of teachers were able to travel. Here in Peru, we are very happy to report that, once again, we had the participation of teachers from Huancavelica (the poorest region of Peru): two dedicated young men, William and Carlos Lopez, who have let me know that they have already organized their students’ first concert. Step by step, little by little we can make a difference!

What follows is a series of reports from our dear friends and colleagues:

Marilyn O’Boyle, violin writes:

Since many people from many countries wanted to attend the Encuentro, and since the SAA helped with many scholarships for teachers, we had two wonderful weeks of teacher training courses before and after the Encuentro at the Suzuki Festival in Lima. The “non-instrument-specific” Philosophy course (IA) had over 20 participants, with at least six instruments represented as well as several parents of Suzuki students. The Violin Unit 2 course had 12 teachers from Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina, Colombia, and Peru. All were very well prepared and are enthusiastic about teaching. The second week, the Violin IB course was even bigger and had more countries represented, as well as many regions in Peru. A young teacher from Uruguay is ready to turn the world upside down as she starts her program in Montevideo. Two young teachers from Trujillo, Peru, are ready to renovate the program there. I first met one of them in 1982 when he was a Suzuki student in Trujillo and I lived in Lima. There were many teachers from Colombia, eager to continue their training which I started in Bogota three years ago. I will return there in June to continue with Unit 3. And it is always interesting to struggle with a little Portuguese as I try to understand the great and talented teachers I meet from Brazil!

Barbara Barber, who was teaching in Peru for the first time, gave a Book 7 course which had 16 participants from Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, El Salvador and Peru. Latin America is a wonderful world of beautiful and dedicated teachers, parents who are sacrificing to give their children the gift of music and receptive and eager students. I feel deeply grateful and privileged to teach there.

Doris Koppelman writes:

I always come home from Peru inspired. This year it was especially so. There was diversity in the student population. And of course students came from a variety of areas in Peru. A number of students, all well-trained, some quite advanced, came from the mountainous area of Cusco. Many of them don’t own pianos! They have to take turns practicing on the available instruments while using a cardboard keyboard the rest of the time! It’s so amazing to see what good work is possible under far less than ideal circumstances. “Where love is deep, much can be accomplished”

We talk about the difficulties some U.S. teachers face in trying to get training. But the truth of the famous quote from Dr. Suzuki printed above was frequently illustrated at the Festival. For example, two young teachers from the interior of Peru traveled ten hours each way by bus over poor country roads because they had to return to their Seminary but were back to resume their training! One of the students in my class, a teenager who played a Bach Invention very beautifully, was from the orphanage here. The priest who runs the orphanage does a fabulous job. It’s such a loving atmosphere. Most of the children go on to higher education and a number of them are Suzuki students, like this one. It’s tremendously impressive.

There is so much enthusiasm here and such good work and devotion. This truly is the Suzuki spirit in action.

Caroline adds:

I gave a two-day course, “Introducing: Music Reading,” and was surprised and delighted to find 29 people registered for the course! Participants were enthusiastic, receptive and eager to put the ideas into practice. The piano teachers in Lima and the group of Suzuki teachers in Buenos Aires have already met and are working on making materials. It is I exciting to see so many teachers with open minds and a willingness to try something new.

Tanya Carey writes:

Cello teacher training at the XVII Festival in Lima included representatives from Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Colombia. With a rotation schedule, long I days for me and early starts, books two, I five, and nine through ten were completed by a total of seven teachers.

It is my honor to announce that the first person to complete training in Units lA through 10 in cello in South America is Annika Petrozzi. Annika is the President of the Peruvian Suzuki Association. Annika has been a member of the National Symphony Orchestra in Peru and is the teacher of all but one cellist in the orchestra today. She wears many hats with eight children (four of whom are cellists), almost nine grandchildren (!) and a full class of pre-college students at the Conservatory, and she is head of the music department at Colegio Newton. We congratulate her on her dedication to music, performance and Dr. Suzuki’s principles and her ability to bring people together in a productive manner. Greetings to all!

Bill Kossler writes:

The 2002 International Suzuki Festival was a pure delight. It has been amazing to see the development of Suzuki Guitar in this part of South America over the past few years. Every time I return to Lima I see an increase in the number of students and teachers attending this festival. Teachers and students came from many parts of Peru (including the jungle), Chile and Argentina.

I have to thank all of the Latin American teachers for their generous compliments of my continuing clumsy efforts to learn Spanish. I was very fortunate to be assisted by Lilian Valcarcel Nalvarte as my translator.

Alejandro Palma, our “social director”, performed his usual magic and arranged for a night out at a small location with all the intimate local color you could hope for. Traditional, unplugged Peruvian folk singing and impromptu dancing were enjoyed by all (Thank you to those who volunteered as my dance instructors for the evening.) We were delighted by several professional singers and dancers in traditional costume who took over at times. Also of interest was the resident poet who would occasionally take the floor and recite his amusing vignettes. I understood very little of his speech but was entertained enormously by the clientele, who laughed ’til they cried. This was an amazing environment, with people of mixed ages and colors greeting each other with handshakes and kisses, doing traditional dancing together and enjoying a friendly sense of community I have never before witnessed in this kind of social setting.

The special warmth of the South American people is always something very special to experience. I look forward to many return visits and to exploring even more of beautiful Peru.

Dr. Suzuki’s dream was to create a better world through music; a world of compassion, mutual respect and love. After this festival, we are one step closer to achieving his goal. None of this could have taken place without strong and effective teamwork and unconditional support from people who really believe in what we are doing.

I would like to mention a few:

The Suzuki Association of Peru would like very much to thank our sponsors, both here in Peru and in North America. The Suzuki Association of the Americas helped sponsor the Second Latin American Teachers Conference and made it possible for over 30 teachers from eight other Latin American countries to attend the festival. The support the SAA provided has spread far beyond Peru! It is exciting especially to think of the new programs in El Salvador and in Uruguay.

In the United States many teachers and their families graciously made donations towards our scholarship fund. I would like to thank in particular, Rebecca Boblak, who not only raised funds amongst her own families, but also inspired other teachers to do the same. Thanks also to Marilyn O’Boyle from New Mexico, Barbara Barber from Colorado, Clarice Leite, Diana Rowan, Barbara Holst and Merna Thomas-all from California, and Patti and David Phears from Hawaii. In addition, I would like to thank the participants and families of the Suzuki Institute of Idaho and Holy Names College Teacher Training Institute for their continued support. A very special thank you to Doris Koppelman and to Diana Galindo for their generosity. In Peru, many thanks go to the local companies who donated their services, to the schools who continued to give their support, and to the families who sponsored and hosted teachers and contributed to the scholarship fund.

The Suzuki Association of Peru has received many letters of thanks from the recipients of the travel scholarships. We would like to share one with you.

Carla Oriana Dominguez, a violinist from Buenos Aires, Argentina, wrote:

To the members of the Suzuki Association of Peru:

I am extremely happy to have been able to be attending the Suzuki Festival which took place at the end of January 2002. I feel moved by the cordiality and friendship which I received. I can’t find words to express my gratitude for the economic support you gave, which made it possible for me to travel, especially during the difficult times which my whole country is experiencing, You have managed to pull together many people who are convinced that children’s education can continue to improve day by day in the same way as the education of those who have chosen to teach them…. For now, I have a lot to study, to meditate upon, and to rebuild… because I have received so much during this festival. I think that with your guidance, the Suzuki family will continue to grow in the correct manner, creating a spirit of fraternity in which we will all be willing to improve, to share, and to co-operate, as we work towards the ideals which are now concrete actions in Latin America. A heartfelt thank you! (Translation: C. F.)

From Colombia, Patricia Bedoya, who traveled from Bogota to participate in the festival, wrote:
Music only brings happiness to the soul. If it is so easy to be happy, why in my country, which is suffering so much from war and conflict, can’t we understand that young children’s’ laughter in the Suzuki Festivals is the best example of living together in harmony. (Translation: C.F.)