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Move Over Mozart! Elementary Honors Orchestra Performs in Minneapolis

Shenandoah Valley's honors orchestra, directed by music teacher Loren Abramson, will perform at the bi-annual Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA) National Teachers' Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota over Memorial Day weekend. The 30 kindergarten through fifth grade Shenandoah students and sixth grade orchestra alumnae from Central Middle will travel by bus accompanied by Abramson and principal Bruce Hunter. The honors orchestra is an audition-on group that meets twice a week outside of school hours. The group performed at the SAA Conference in Cincinnati in 2000. The community's commitment to music education was recognized recently by the American Music Conference as one of the top 100 music communities in the country. Additionally, at this year's conference, former fine arts coordinator Douglas Turpin will receive a "Creating Learning Community" award from the SAA for his dedication to the development and expansion of the Suzuki learning community. Turpin was instrumental in establishing the Suzuki method in Parkway in the early 1970's. Today nearly all Parkway third graders participate in the Suzuki program. The district's orchestra program has over 4,400 students between third and twelfth grade. The SAA conference is primarily for private Suzuki teachers from across the country, but also is a way to introduce the Suzuki style of instruction to public schools. The honors orchestra's performance is a demonstration of what is possible when the Suzuki method is incorporated in a public school elementary string education curriculum. The Suzuki method, started by Shiniehi Suzuki in the 1940's, is intended to teach children to learn music like they learned to speak. After internalizing music and watching a parent learn to play, students learn to "speak" with their instruments. The honors orchestra will perform a free, local, open to the public concert at 5 p.m. Sunday, May 21 at the Central High Theater, 369 N. Woods Mill Rd in Chesterfield.