FSTE group classes have spent a comfortable fall semester at UPark Elementary School. In important ways it was back to the “good old days,” at least for the individual violin, cello, and guitar classes plus piano time with Jim Spontak.
Masks, social distancing, and no- touch routines, though not our favorite innovations, became more tolerable as the semester progressed. The teachers are very grateful to the supportive custodial crew at UPark for opening up the front door and all our assigned classrooms in a timely manner every Thursday. This support extended to preparing the gym with bleachers and chairs for our Halloween and Holiday recitals.
Our Halloween recital was a great success in the gym. There was ample room for each class in their fantastic costumes. Listening to each other and then being able to present their own contributions was extremely gratifying. The music was a real treat with lots of spooky renditions of the Suzuki (and other) repertoire. Again, cheerfully, we noted glimmers of the “good old days.”
Our Holiday recital on December 9th ended our fall semester joyfully. It was wonderful to have the (usually zooming) flute class in person for the first time in a very long time. We were fascinated by their plastic head shields and amazed by the high quality of sound they strove to produce under those contraptions. There were lots of “Jolly Old St. Nicholas” and “Jingle Bells,” but, as usual, some unusual pieces to celebrate the season. When all the classes played together for the final pieces it felt highly satisfying.
As families struggle with the threats of the viruses, the number of our classes and most of their sizes have been way down. We hope for increases to group classes in the spring semester, as the sheer joy of being together and the accomplishments of even the smallest groups have been so clearly displayed. Dr. Suzuki believed fervently in the concept of Group Class as a way to encourage a musical community and of course, camaraderie.
Please remember to register for the Spring semester of Group classes starting December 27. Late fees apply after January 13.