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Tour Group to NYC

Nine members of the Suzuki Tour Group made a three-day trip to New York City in mid-April, where they performed Camille Saint-Saëns’ The Carnival of the Animals at two schools. This was the exciting culmination of a year of preparation and several concerts in the Upper Valley by the full group. The students, from six towns, were accompanied by Alicia Casey, director of the Suzuki program, collaborative pianist Will Ögmundson, and violinist and Suzuki instructor Emma McAlister. Hannah Van Der Swaagh, a music teacher with the New York City schools, helped plan the trip.

Performances at the Learning Springs School on East 20th Street in downtown Manhattan and PS 007 on East 120 th Street in Harlem also involved lively interactions with their students. The Learning Springs School serves students on the autism spectrum; all were fully engaged with the performance, which includes a reading of the story for each movement. Several chose to follow up with questions to their visitors, who responded with both imagination and care.

At PS OO7, a K – 8 th grade public school with a focus on the arts and collaborative engagement, the performance included partnering with their fifth grade Suzuki students for one of the “Carnival” movements. A special event for all, this performance was attended by the school principal, the superintendent of the district, and even some parents, who managed time away from work to be there. Our Suzuki program was encouraged to come again, and the principal also suggested that a visit by their students to UVMC would be an interesting prospect.

Collaboration in the Suzuki spirit was also very much in evidence within the tour group. The students, ranging from 5 th to 10 th grade, shared responsibilities, learned from one another, and looked after one another cordially at their Airbnb, having already participated in several fundraising activities to support this adventure, including bake sales and a stirring performance at the First Congregational Church in Lebanon.

Highlights of the city experience, the first time in New York for some, included a performance of Aladdin on Broadway and a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, featuring a special explanation of the difference between Baroque and modern violins and violas – not to mention tasty bagels each morning.