AC Suzuki program to celebrate 40th anniversary with special events, concert
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By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer
The kids are growing up.
Amarillo College's Suzuki Program, which teaches kids as young as 3 how to play musical instruments, will celebrate its 40th anniversary in Amarillo at events on Friday and Saturday.
The Suzuki 40th Anniversary Celebration begins at 6 p.m. Friday with a cookout at the AC Music Building on the college's Washington Street campus.
Festivities continue with a play-in at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at the Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts, 500 S. Buchanan St.
The centerpiece of the celebration is a 40th anniversary concert at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Globe-News Center. Featured artists include Annie Chalex Boyle, Keith Redpath, Hannah Kendle Dowell, Joshua Kendle and Barbara Barber, daughter of AC Suzuki co-founder Helen Gerald. Also performing will be current student groups, featured student and teacher alums, and more.
The program's success is no surprise to Camille Day Nies, Suzuki program coordinator and AC Department of Music chair.
"I believe that families in our area truly want to provide the kind of education for their children that contains the arts and community interaction," she said. "They have seen the value in developing these skills alongside their children to creat some really fabulous human beings as they get older.
"It's more than just about learning to play an instrument."
Suzuki works, Nies said, because of the "personal interactivity and communication" of its instructors, who teach violin, viola, cello, flute, guitar, piano and, now, harp students. Four of the current instructors are alums of the AC Suzuki program themselves.
The program started in 1977, founded by Suzanne Grooms and the late Helen Gerald. Students learn in weekly private and group instruction sessions, and perform at monthly play-ins, solo recitals and an annual recital.
All events are free, but donations will be accepted. Call 806-371-5346.