The story of Dr. Suzuki is familiar to the members of our ISA community ~ a humanitarian with a lifelong passion to help all children realize their potential. But diving deeper into the legacy of this man, his passion and his legacy can inspire Suzuki parents and teachers alike.
This summer, four of our faculty had the opportunity to hear this story come alive at the Suzuki Association of the Americas convention in Minneapolis, MN. Teachers and professionals from around North America gathered to learn more, be inspired, and encourage each other in their Suzuki teaching. The most powerful part of the convention was hearing teachers share their first hand stories of studying with Dr. Suzuki in Japan.
Dr. Suzuki was very focused on inclusion, compassion and life force or ‘ki.’ He wanted to be fully engaged with each person he encountered and he intentionally focused his energy on the whole person, so that each person was really seen, heard and understood.
He wholeheartedly believed that each person could become a better human being. “To study is to change,” was a key mantra he espoused. He believed in pursuing change in ourselves. He worked to help each child to develop awareness, and intuitiveness of observation. This sensitivity and awareness of self would lead to growth and change in each child.
If we can continue to focus on sensitivity to the environment around us, and develop intuition and awareness, there is no limit to what we can nurture in our children.
The Board of Directors is looking forward to a great 2018-19 Academic Year. Student enrollment has increased 30% since last year, and with our Suzuki-inspired school programs, we will serve over 225 students this year. Our Faculty is excited for a great year of collaborations with such fine organizations as Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra and IndyBaroque. We are also pleased to continue our relationship with the Indianapolis Cello school to expand our Chamber Music Program for students. Be on the lookout for more details coming soon about these exciting collaborative experiences for your students.
While the ISA’s Lilly Grant Application did not advance into the final round of consideration, the Board and staff are committed to pursuing additional funding through other grants. Our goal is to ensure the ISA will continue to flourish and serve many generations to come. The ISA is fortunate to receive continued support from the Indiana Youth Institute for consulting work in the areas of strategic planning and funding our vision.
Please join us in congratulating faculty member, Jessica Wiersma, violin, who has accepted a position with the national tour of Hamilton. Ms. Jessica has been a valuable member of our ISA faculty since 2016, and we will miss her immensely. Her dedication to excellence and her commitment to her students have been so valuable to the ISA, and we are grateful for all Ms. Jessica has done for the ISA. Congratulations, Ms. Jessica!
We are pleased to announce that Ms. Yuri Uchida, current ISA Violin Faculty, will be able to take over for Ms. Jessica's students and teaching. Ms. Yuri is a violinist with extensive knowledge in performance and teaching. She completed her Bachelor of Music degree at Northwestern University with Almita Vamos. During her senior year, she won a two-year fellowship with Civic Orchestra of Chicago, training orchestra of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, serving as Assistant Principal Second Violin in her second year.
She went on to obtain her Master of Music degree after the fellowship with Sibbi Bernhardsson, violinist from the Pacifica Quartet, where she was the recipient of the Jacob School of Music Scholarship Award and the Artistic Excellence Award. During her time at Indiana, she received Beginning/Intermediate Violin training with the renowned Mimi Zweig and taught her String Academy students as well as her professor’s pre-college students.
In the summer seasons, Yuri has traveled all over the world to participated in number of festivals, such as Aspen Music Festival, Chautauqua Music Festival, Litomysl Masterclasses in Czech Republic by Milan Vitek from Oberlin Conservatory, the QuartetFest in Victoria, BC, and Astona International in Zurich, Switzerland. She has also played in masterclasses by renowned violinists and professors, such as Rachel Barton Pine, Shmuel Ashkenazi, Paul Kantor, and William van der Sloot.
Yuri completed her ECC Training in Deerfield, IL, her Suzuki Book 1 with Linda Stieg, and Suzuki Book 2 with Esther Fellows. Currently, she resides in Indianapolis and can be seen performing regularly with major ensembles such as Nashville Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, and Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra
A team of ISA board members and staff recently submitted a grant proposal to the Lilly Endowment Arts and Cultural Innovation grant for consideration. Project Indy Suzuki Impact strives to infuse music into more people’s lives by increasing access to and lowering barriers to children’s participation in world-class Suzuki music education in Indianapolis.
This project would provide a pathway through scholarships to students who would otherwise not have access to this transformative education because of financial barriers. It would also seek to infuse arts into more people’s lives through collaborative outreach events designed to increase the ISA’s visibility and presence in the community. This two-fold approach would include community engagement to make families and the community aware of this opportunity, and lowering barriers to participation through scholarships. By this summer, we should know if our proposal advanced to the next round of consideration, and final grants would be awarded by December 2018.
Mrs. Johanna Kitchell is thrilled to join the Indianapolis Suzuki Academy Board of Directors. Mrs. Kitchell is in her tenth year as director of the Riverside Orchestra program. She is the 2018 Indiana ASTA Middle School Music Educator of the Year, and the 2014 recipient of the Indiana Music Educators Association Outstanding Middle School Music Educator award. Mrs. Kitchell also currently serves as President of the Indiana chapter of the American String Teachers Association. INASTA is a professional organization that provides resources, events, and performance opportunities for students and educators. Currently, Mrs. Kitchell also serves on the board of the Indiana Arts Education Network, an advocacy group promoting arts education in all schools across Indiana, as well as the board of the Indianapolis Suzuki Academy, as an education and community liaison.
Mrs. Kitchell is a graduate of Butler University, where she studied cello under Dr. William Grubb. A native of New York, Mrs. Kitchell has loved her time at Riverside, working hard to build and maintain this talented and successful program. Mrs. Kitchell is very involved in the Indianapolis music community as a private string teacher, professional gig musician, and frequent concert-goer. She was named the 2014 recipient of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra’s Pitz Leadership Award, which recognizes community contributions to the orchestra. When not in school, Mrs. Kitchell enjoys running, working out, listening to music, watching Jeopardy, baking, playing with her dog, Zoey, and talking to her husband, Mr. Kitchell, who is currently on overseas deployment with the Indiana Army National Guard.
Our Innaugural Annual Innovation Fund raised over $9,200! The ISA Board of Directors is committed to helping every child reach their potential and is investing your gifts in our students by allocating these funds to faculty training and development.
Time and time again, our students and families report back to us that the quality of teaching at ISA, and their relationship with their teacher is what makes ISA so remarkable. It is the day-in and day-out work of our faculty that is impacting children’s lives.
“Teachers who love teaching, teach children to love learning”
~ Robert John Meehan