Members of the SIUE Suzuki Program’s Tour Group, joined by local Suzuki groups from Prague and Krakow.EDWARDSVILLE - 20 students from SIUE Suzuki Program's Tour Group just completed a nine-day tour of the Czech Republic and Poland, performing a series of concerts along the way.

Under the direction of Allison Woerner, they performed a total of three concerts, two of which were done in cooperation with local Suzuki groups from Prague and Krakow. Woerner said in a Facebook post that this tour was five years in the making due to the pandemic.

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“This tour was special,” she said. “Five years it took to get this to happen because of Covid. We did it. They did it. Only one of these students had ever toured before - it was a totally new and untested crew. They trusted, grew, bonded, played, laughed, shopped, and did it all with kindness and silliness.”

The group also visited historic sites such as the Prague Castle District, the Wieliczka Salt Mine, and Auschwitz.

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After their final performance, Woerner said: “These kids have made me so proud, and they have grown in ways that they don’t even realize yet. Such gratitude to all these musicians and their families, the teachers who helped us make this happen, our pianist Sharon Voss, and our Suzuki Director Erika Lord-Castillo.”

The program details its origins - and the origins of the “Suzuki Method” - on its webpage:

“Over 50 years ago, Japanese violinist Shinichi Suzuki realized that all children learn to speak their native language with ease. Suzuki went on to explore how that could be applied to learning to play music, and developed the ‘Suzuki method’ of teaching music.”

In 1965, John Kendall founded the SIUE Suzuki Program, which was the first university-based Suzuki teacher training program in the United States. To learn more about the program, visit its webpage. For more information and updates on the Tour Group, visit their Facebook page.

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