Acadiana Suzuki Strings Institute

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the 10th Acadiana Suzuki Strings Institute (ASSI) at the Episcopal School of Acadiana in Cade, Louisiana!

ASSI Details

List of 12 items.

  • Electives

    Electives for Book 1 and Up: Fiddle or Art
    Electives for Viola and Cello: Art recommended. Participation in Fiddle is limited to accompaniment figures. 
    Elective for Pre-Twinklers and Twinklers:

    The fiddling elective is one of our most popular classes and will be led by two Grammy-nominated local musicians, Christine Balfa and Anya Burgess. Students will learn traditional Cajun, Irish and American fiddle melodies as well as accompaniment styles unique to traditional music.

    The local art elective will be taught by beloved local artist Bonnie Camos. Students will work with a variety of media from paints to sculpture, and their artwork will be on display during the final concert.

    It may be possible for your child to sign up during check-in at the Institute for an additional elective depending on the schedule and COVID protocols. The fee for a 2nd elective is $65. 

  • Recital Sign-Up

    Sign up for a student recital using the form below. The sign-up deadline is Wednesday, May 31st by 9am (at registration).

    • Performer must have rehearsed with home studio accompanist (no time to rehearse with institute accompanist)
    • Sheet music must be provided for the accompanist
    • Recitals will be held immediately following lunch or after the last class of the day.
  • Required Repertoire

    All Book 1 and up students will each be assigned a group Repertoire Class according to h/er corresponding book level. Each class will perform one or two of the pieces selected from the corresponding book level list (below) at the final concert. Book 5+ students will likely be in the same repertoire class.

    Find your child’s book level below, and polish those pieces on the list that your child will have studied by institute time. Pieces should be studied in the order found in the book and must be memorized. It is not necessary to learn pieces on the list (that correspond to your book level) that your child has not yet studied by institute time, and we do not recommend skipping pieces just to have all pieces on the list learned for ASSI.

    NB - Repertoire Class teachers may include other pieces in the book during the 4 days.

    BOOK 1
    BOOK 2
    Hunter’s Chorus
    Long, Long Ago
    Witches’ Dance
    Gavotte - Lully
    Minuet in G
    BOOK 3
    Gavotte - Martini
    Minuet III
    Gavotte in g minor
    Gavotte - Becker
    BOOK 4
    Concerto No. 2, 3rd mvt - Seitz
    Concerto No. 5, 1st mvt – Seitz
    Concerto No. 5, 3rd mvt - Seitz
    Concerto in a minor, 1st mvt - Vivaldi
    Concerto in a minor, 3rd mvt - Vivaldi
    Country Dance - Weber (Bk 5)
    Sonata in G Minor - 1st and 2nd mvts - Eccles (Bk 8)
    CHAMBER ORCHESTRA (parts have been distributed to CE students)
    Fiddle Dance
    Corelli #10
  • First Day Schedule

    8-8:30 am: Check-In (Upper School Gym)

    8:30-8:50 am: Play-In

    9:00 am: Classes Begin

    11:50am-1:10pm - Lunch on your own

    Daily schedule runs from 9am-11:50am and 1:20pm-3:50pm with student recitals from 1:20-2:00pm. Each class period is 50 minutes. On the last day of the institute, there will be a final student concert which will end by 5pm. Treats after the concert.

    Every effort will be made to complete Pre-Twinkler and Twinkler classes each day by noon. Please remember that children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult at all times!

  • Sample Schedule

    Each student will receive an individualized schedule. Here is a sample of a day's schedule (pdf will download when you click the link).
  • Final Concert

    There will be a Final Concert on Saturday at 4pm. Dress for the concert is institute t-shirt and black slacks or skirts. Post-concert treats will be available!
  • Sibling Classes

    We are offering one Sibling Art Class per day (50-minute) for siblings of ASSI participants (fee includes supplies), and one Fiddle Class (50-minute) for intermediate and advanced fiddlers not participating in Suzuki track, depending on available space. Refunds will be given if space is not available.

    World Drumming (if space is available) - Come jam out as we explore rhythms from around the world using percussion instruments such as: tubanos, djembes, congas, bongos, gankogui, and many different types of xylophones! We’ll learn through sight, ear, and speech like many foreign cultures in this class for all ages. Bring a smile and we’ll drum up some fun!
  • Tuition

    Tuition for Suzuki Book 1 and Up:  $365.

    Pre-Twinkler and Twinkler tuition: $265.

    Sibling Art Classes: $90

    (Early bird discount of $50 per child if registered by April 1st.)

    ECC Teacher Training: $100

    Cello Book 1 Teacher Training:

  • Housing and Meals

    Please see our list at right for recommendations in the area. 

    Comfort Inn and Suites, a 15-minute drive from the Institute, will offer a discounted rate of $79/day (tax additional). Ask for "Suzuki Families" rate.
    Comfort Inn and Suites
    114 Rue Fernand
    Lafayette, LA 70508
    (337) 456-8390

    Food service is not available on campus. However, a map will be provided at registration for area restaurants. You may also choose to picnic on the ESA grounds under the oaks or on the deck.

  • Meet Our 2023 ASSI Faculty

    Rachel Alvarado (TX) Violin/Viola

    Rachel Alvarado serves as Lower and Middle School Orchestra Director at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Austin, Texas. Previously, she served as head orchestra director at Cedar Ridge High School in Round Rock ISD, earning sweepstakes awards at UIL Concert and Sight-Reading Contest. Mrs. Alvarado also maintains a private Suzuki violin and viola studio through the Austin Suzuki Music School and is a regular clinician at the Austin Suzuki Institute, Ozark Suzuki Institute, Intermountain Suzuki String Institute, and many other Suzuki music festivals throughout Texas. Additionally, she conducted the Camerata Orchestra in the Austin Youth Orchestra program and enjoys performing regularly in the Austin area.

    Jillienne Bowers (MI) Violin

    iolinist Jillienne Bowers began her musical studies at the age of eight in her native town of Seal Beach, California. After two years at Chapman University in Orange County, California, she ventured to the east coast to continue her studies. Jillienne received her Bachelor of Music degree from the Peabody Conservatory of Music of Johns Hopkins University and pursued graduate studies, earning her Master of Music degree from the University of Boston. During this time, she studied with Dr. David Margetts, Charles Libove, Raphael Druian, and Camilla Wicks. She was also fortunate to work under Alexander Schneider in the New York String Orchestra for two years, allowing her to perform in Carnegie Hall in New York and the National Center for the Arts in Washington, D.C. She has given solo performances in California, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Ohio. She has given chamber recitals in Taiwan, Hong Kong, England, and Germany. Currently, Jillienne performs with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra as 4th chair first- section violinist and has been a member for 26 years.

    Jillienne began her Suzuki pedagogy training 26 years ago in Snowmass, Colorado, with Joanne Bath. Deeply influenced by Shinichi Suzuki’s philosophy that every child can learn to play with excellence, she continued her studies with Suzuki trainers, Nancy Lokken, Ronda Cole, Alice-Joy Lewis, Wendy Azrak, Linda Stieg, Cathryn Lee, and Master Suzuki teacher, John Kendall. She teaches a private studio of eighteen violin students in her home, with a few of those students pursuing degrees in Music performance or Music Education. She is a proud mum of three boys, Christopher, Colin, and Charles, all raised to play musical instruments. She currently resides in Adrian, MI, with her husband, Bryan, and their English Labrador, Kiira. In her spare time, Jillienne loves spending time outdoors in her garden, swimming, walking with her dog, and reading.

    Heather Hadley (CO) Cello

    Heather Hadley maintains a thriving studio of young cellists of all levels and has been a member of the faculty of Boulder Suzuki Strings since 2003. As a SAA registered Teacher Trainer, she conducts the cello long-term training program at the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music. She has contributed to the  SAA’s Parents as Partners video series and the American Suzuki Journal, and has served on the board of the Suzuki Association of  Colorado. Her degrees include a BM from Lawrence University in Performance, a MM from the University of Colorado in Performance and Pedagogy, and a Suzuki Certificate from the University of Denver. Heather is passionate about helping all students and families experience the full benefits of a Suzuki education. When not teaching or performing she enjoys spending  time in the Colorado sunshine with her husband and two daughters.

    Connie Hadlock (ID) Violin

    Connie Hadlock of Caldwell, Idaho, began teaching in 1977 under the founder of the Idaho Suzuki Institute, June Itami. In 2005, she started the first orchestra at her high school Alma Mater. She taught for three years in the Caldwell school district, 5th-8th grade orchestras. She has served on the faculty at Suzuki Institutes in Utah, California, Montana, and Idaho. During the past 30 years, she has served as both co-director and director of the Idaho Suzuki Institute, now in its 43rd year and has been an advisor/coach for a high school auxiliary/dance team. Connie continues teaching violin/viola lessons in her private studio as well as performing with various ensembles and the Symphonia at the College of Idaho. She enjoys traveling the country and spending time with her 22 grandchildren.

    Cathryn S. Lee (CA) Violin

    San Francisco based violin teacher Cathryn S. Lee has taught families and teachers around the world since 1976. She is respected for teaching all ages and levels using her detailed and practical “best of both worlds” approach inspired by her studies with Dr. Shinichi Suzuki and her “traditional” studies with the late concert artist Dame Camilla Wicks.

    As a teacher trainer, Cathryn has taught and lectured at SAA National conferences, Leadership Summits, Suzuki Method World Conferences, the first International Suzuki Teacher Trainer Conference in 2009, and at the 16th World Conference in Japan. She has given master classes and pedagogy classes in Australia, Canada, England, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand and throughout the United States. Cathryn is a guest lecturer in String Pedagogy at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Cathryn is the author of Bow Exercises, Bow Strokes and the Bow Stroke Excerpts books.

    In 1977, Cathryn founded the Suzuki Music Studio of San Francisco, where she continues to teach students and train teachers. Cathryn has a B.A. in Performance and Composition, M. A. in Performance from San Francisco College for Women, and a teaching certificate from the Talent Education Institute in Japan. She and her husband raised their sons, Whit, an actor/violinist in New York City, and Corin, a violinist with the ETHEL String Quartet and Founder of Liberated Performer.

    Mark Mutter (MI) Violin

    Mark Mutter is a registered Teacher Trainer with the Suzuki Association of the Americas. He received his Bachelor and Master of Violin Performance studying with Walter Schwede, Angel Reyes, and Camilla Wicks. His orchestral career began in Hong Kong as the Assistant Principal Second Violin of the Hong Kong Philharmonic. He also taught at the Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts. Mark studied Suzuki pedagogy with John Kendall, Ronda Cole, Teri Einfeldt, Jacquie Maurer, and Geri Arnold. He is the Executive Director of the Suzuki Music Academy of Michigan, formerly known as Suzuki Royal Oak Institute of Music. He oversees 10 teachers who teach over 150 students. He has been a clinician at Workshops and Institutes throughout the U.S. and Asia. Mark has led the SRO Tour Group on concert tours throughout Europe and Canada, as well as two performances in Carnegie Hall. He is presently on the conducting staff of the Wu Family Academy, the Detroit Symphonies youth orchestra program. He conducts the Concert Orchestra and Pizzicato String Ensemble. He is also a lecturer in Suzuki Pedagogy at the University of Michigan.

    Charles Regauer (LA) Violin/Viola

    Charles Regauer, a native of Brazil, holds a Bachelor’s Degree in music from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, in Brazil and a Master’s degree in Music from the University of New Mexico with double concentration in Viola Performance and Violin Pedagogy. He attended several music festivals in Brazil, where he had the opportunity to learn from great teachers as Eric Rosenblith, Richard Young, Ori Kam, Paul Biss, Rainer Moog, Clara Takarabe, Renée Moore-Skerik and Timothy Deighton. In the year 2008, he won the SESI/Fundarte concerto competition for young soloists, where he performed a solo with the orchestra in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Charles Regauer has been teaching violin and viola since 2006 and completed the Suzuki Violin Long Term-Training with Susan Kempter. He has continued his teacher training in viola with Elizabeth Stuen Walker, Bill Preucil and Sarah Montzka. He has attended other teaching courses with Mimi Zweig, Barbara Barber, Winifred Crock, Nancy Jackson, Pat D’Ercole, Doris Preucil, Laurie Scott, Mark Mutter and Pat D’Ercole. He has taught in Suzuki workshops in Brazil, Mexico and the United States; having fun learning and teaching, sometimes dressed as Gandalf or Waldo, playing scales, movie songs, Bach Minuets, leading the viola groups or teaching master classes. Currently, he works at the Centenary College of Louisiana as a violin/viola instructor and administrator to the Centenary Suzuki School in Shreveport, LA.

    Alice Ann O’Neill (OH) Cello Teacher Training
    Dr. Alice Ann M. O’Neill, attended Boston University to study cello performance, and subsequently obtained a master’s degree in cello performance and Suzuki pedagogy from Western Illinois University, and a doctorate from The Ohio State University, in cello performance and string pedagogy. She has performed in professional orchestras and chamber ensembles, and as a solo cellist throughout Europe, Canada, and the U.S. She has taught many clinics and workshops concerning many aspects of pedagogy and presented at state and international education conferences. Her research articles have been published in The Journal of Research in Music Education, the American Suzuki Journal, and the Vincentian Heritage Journal. Her cello students have appeared on NPR’s “From the Top,” and won top prizes at the St. Paul’s String Quartet and Fischoff chamber music competitions. Several cello students of Dr. O’Neill have continued their studies at schools such as Rice University-Shepherd School of Music, Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, Cleveland Institute of Music, Catholic University of America, Aspen Music Festival, Meadowmount School of Music, Indiana University, Harvard University, and the Juilliard School in New York City. Currently, Dr. O’Neill is professor of cello, teaches chamber music and string pedagogy, and supervises new teachers at Mount St. Joseph University and directs the Mount St. Joseph Talent Education program in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is a Catholic nun and member of the Sisters of Charity.

    Christine Balfa (LA) Fiddle

    Christine Balfa is one of Cajun music's most talented and revered vocalists and guitar players. She began playing music as a teenager with her father, Dewey Balfa, and has continued her family legacy in a major way. Christine is founding director of the non-profit organization, Louisiana Folk Roots, an organization dedicated to preserving Louisiana's valuable cultural landscape. Christine leads the powerhouse Cajun band, Balfa Toujours, and plays rhythm guitar with Grammy-nominated band, Bonsoir Catin. She is fluent in Cajun French and in 2014 obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in French Studies from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Christine teaches the ASO&C Do-Re-ME! program at Church Point Elementary, Central Rayne Kindergarten, Crowley Kindergarten, and Epiphany Day School. 

    Anya Burgess (LA) Fiddle

    Anya Burgess is a graduate of Indiana University's violin making program, and has been servicing the needs of string players in South Louisiana since 2002. From her shop, SOLA Violins, in downtown Lafayette, LA, she sells, rents, and repairs violins, violas, cellos, and bows and accessories. Anya enjoys working with players of all ages and abilities, from students to professionals, Classical to Cajun. Anya also plays the fiddle professionally with two Grammy-nominated Cajun bands, the Magnolia Sisters and Bonsoir Catin. Her love of playing violin is a great compliment to her love of building and working on stringed instruments. She is a member of the Violin Society of America and the Grammy's Recording Academy.

    Bonnie Camos (LA) Art

    Bonnie Camos is a visual artist, curator, arts educator, and native of Lafayette, LA. For 25 years, Bonnie has been professionally exhibiting her art and actively participating in the cultural communities where she resides, having served on the boards of the Acadiana Arts Council and the Louisiana Crafts Guild. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and was an artist-in-residence at Louisiana Artworks in New Orleans in March 2007. Bonnie was chosen as an official artist for Festival International de Louisiane in collaboration with Craig “Whoojoo” McCullen to create the official art piece and poster for the year 2010. She also created the “Games of Acadiana” poster in 2012 for the Miles’ Perret Cancer Services Center. Her work shifts from acrylics to her current images using encaustic and mixed media assemblages. Bonnie teaches children’s art classes in addition to conducting summer arts programs for the Children’s Museum of Acadiana and the Acadiana Symphony cultural camp.

    Erin Fort (LA) Percussion

    Erin Fort currently teaches at Lafayette Renaissance where she is the K-8th general music teacher. In addition to general music classes she teaches the Percussion Ensemble, Elementary Choir, and the Japanese Club. Mrs. Fort is a graduate of Centenary College of Louisiana. She is the Vice President of the Red Stick Orff Association and holds two levels of certification in American Orff Schulwerk from Texas A&M at Kingsville. She is also certified in World Music Drumming from Milwaukee, WI and Musikgarten Curriculum from  Dallas, TX. Mrs. Fort has worked with the Noel Community Arts Program in Shreveport, LA, the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra, and the Music Academy of Acadiana. Her goal is always to make learning music a fun and enjoyable experience! 

    Lauren Baker (LA) Director/Violin

    Lauren Baker studied violin performance at Oberlin College and also holds a BA in Communications from Spring Hill College.  At the age of 12, Ms. Baker played her first solo with the Mobile Symphony performing the Bach Double Violin Concerto with her mother, Nancy Head, who was her first teacher. She continued her studies with Harold Wolf and then at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of David Cerone and Stephen Staryk. She has maintained a violin studio in Lafayette since 1986. Members of her studio range in age from 4 to 18 and have performed several times with the ASO as part of the Educational Concert Series. Several of her students have been members of the ASO. Her students have also enjoyed master classes with many guest artists including the Cavani String Quartet, David Cerone, Midori and Nadja Solerno-Sonnenberg and have been accepted to some of the country’s leading summer programs and conservatories. She has served on the faculties of many Suzuki institutes across the country. Since 1988, Ms. Baker has been concertmaster of the Acadiana Symphony. Her commitment to the ASO has also included Orchestra Committee Chair and terms on the Board of Directors as Orchestra Representative. She has been a member of many orchestras, often holding principal positions. She is a widely sought-after freelance musician and is co-owner of “Vermilion Strings” ( which provides musicians for special events. Ms. Baker is committed to creating an environment of learning excellence for all string students. ASSI is a critical part of this environment, and she is most grateful for those who support it, from students and their parents, parent & teacher volunteers, ASSI sponsors, and our fabulous faculty!

    Molly Goforth (LA) Co-Director/Cello

    Molly Goforth is an active chamber and orchestral musician based in Lafayette, Louisiana. Ms. Goforth is the principal cellist of the Baton Rouge Symphony, a member of the Acadiana Symphony, cello faculty at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and at McNeese State University, and is a frequent performer of chamber music with her faculty colleagues at ULL and the Baton Rouge-based group Magnolia Strings. Ms. Goforth also maintains an active private studio.  Her private students are regularly accepted into the Louisiana All-State Orchestra, the LPSS Gifted & Talented program, participate in the Acadiana Symphony Youth Orchestra, UL-Lafayette Orchestra, and are employed by various churches and other organizations as gigging musicians. Ms. Goforth has a Master of Music degree in cello performance from DePaul University in Chicago, a BM from the University of Louisville, and has received Suzuki Teacher Training through Cello Book 5. Ms. Goforth has studied privately with Stephen Balderston, Alan Harris, Darrett Adkins, Craig Hultgren, Alice Ann O’Neill and Paul York.

  • Contact ASSI

    Lauren Baker, Director
    Phone: 337-237-5221

    Molly Goforth, Co-Director
    Phone: 205-910-8310

  • ASSI Policies

    Full tuition is due upon registration. Enrollment is limited by faculty and facility availability. Registration is accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, and early registration is encouraged. You will be notified, and all fees will be refunded, if space is not available.

    In the event that you must cancel your registration, submit written notice to the Acadiana Suzuki Strings Institute by emailing Cancellations and withdrawals will be processed as follows:

    Written notice received prior to May 1st:
    Tuition 100% refundable less a $30 cancellation fee.

    Written notice received after May 1st:
    No refunds (medical exceptions with appropriate documentation).

    If spots remain after registration closes, payment must be made in the form of a money order or bank certified check. No personal checks or credit cards accepted.

Student Institute - May 31- June 3, 2023

ASSI is an opportunity for Suzuki students of all levels and from many different geographic areas to come together to be instructed by internationally-recognized teachers in a relaxed atmosphere of learning and fun.

ASSI is appropriate for Suzuki violin, viola and cello students from beginning (including Pre-Twinklers) to advanced. Student string institute offerings include opening and closing concerts (held in the gym, socially distanced), master classes, group classes, reading/ensemble classes, and World Drumming classes. Electives include fiddling and art class.
Pre-Twinklers & Twinklers will attend one session of master class, group class, and art each day.  Every effort will be made to complete all classes by lunchtime.

Suzuki Violin, Viola, and Cello students in Books 1 & Up will attend one session of master class, technique class, repertoire class, ensemble or reading class, World Drumming class, and an elective each day.

Every Child Can Teacher Training

Learn about the fundamental philosophy of the Suzuki method and begin to develop your teaching practices.  This is the fundamental course that is required in order to take any further training through the Suzuki Association.  You do not need to be a member of the SAA to participate.
Thank you for your interest. The 2023 program is full. 

Local Resources

Episcopal School of Acadiana

Episcopal School of Acadiana is a private coeducational day school for students in grades PK3 through 12. Our mission is to instill in every student the habits of scholarship and honor.

Lafayette Campus

Cade Campus

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