Mrs. Sara Penny

Violin, Viola, Cello Teacher

Sara Penny

SAA Member


Cedar City, UT
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Sara Penny served as the director of Suzuki Strings Cedar City for 36 years, now a 501(c)(3) non-profit. She taught some of the teachers now directing the program. More info: Sara Penny teaches violin and viola private lessons. She is also the Orchestra of Southern Utah administrative assistant and has been President and Manager for the OSU, Her B.A. is from the University of Utah in communications and she started playing her Grandma Hafen’s violin at age 8.   Major teachers included R. L. Halversen, Cedar City; Norma Lee Madsen Belnap, University of Utah; Alfred de Reyghere, Ireland; and Eduard Schmieder, Texas.  She has also attended numerous Suzuki workshops with clinicians such as William Starr, John Kendall, William Preucil, and Terry Durbin, as well as directing annual regional workshops in Cedar City.

Sara was named the Studio Teacher of the Year in 2016 and Educator of the Year by the Utah Chapter of the American String Teachers Association in 2005. Other honors include a Mayor’s Award for helping procure the Heritage Center concert hall for Cedar City, and a Chamber of Commerce Award for Service to the Arts. She taught chamber music and private strings at Southern Utah University for seven years as an adjunct professor. Sara has helped raise thousands of dollars for the Orchestra of Southern Utah, including four National Endowment of the Arts grants. She also established the fall OSU community recital series for OSU and serves as Vice President for the Cedar City Arts Council. She started the Southern Utah String Festival and plays viola in the Orchestra of Southern Utah and viola in the Southern Utah String Quartet. In 2022 she received the Friend of the Arts award from the Southern Utah Museum of Art for her work in the arts for Southern Utah.

One of her more interesting jobs was as the voice of classical music on public radio for southeast Texas in the early 1980s. Her late husband Des was an engineering professor who subsidized her love of music so she could be of service. Their two children both play cello. Their son Brian is a sound engineer in New York. Their daughter Bridget is married and busy raising four children in Centerville. Sara loves live music, art, photography, friends, and family. “It is a joy to teach children how to make their own music.”