Acadiana Suzuki Strings Institute

The Acadiana Suzuki Strings Institute (ASSI) will be a COVID-safe in-person institute in 2021! We hope that you will join us for your summer Suzuki adventure in the heart of Cajun Country. ASSI is held at the Episcopal School of Acadiana in Cade, Louisiana. The ESA campus, with its large live oak trees and landscaped quads, is a peaceful and relaxing environment for students and families.

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, June 2nd 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
    Lully Gavotte
    Minuet in G
    BOOK 3
    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
    Gavotte - Bach, unaccompanied (Bk 5)
    Concerto in a minor, 2nd mvt - Vivaldi (Bk 5)
    Gigue - Veracini (Bk 6)
    Courante - Corelli (Bk 7)
    Hungarian Dance No. 6 – Brahms/Arnold NOTE: This is the performance piece and will be emailed to all Bk 5+ students upon completed registration.
    Coming soon.
  • First Day Schedule

    8-8:30 am: Check-In (Middle School Gym at tennis courts)

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

    9:00 am: Classes Begin

    Classes will run each day from 9am-11:50am and 1:20pm-3:50pm with student recitals at 4:00pm. 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 Music 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 4/15/2021.)

    Cello Book 2 Teacher Training: $500

  • 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 2021 ASSI Faculty

    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.

    Daniel Gee Cordova (TX) Violin/Viola 
    Daniel Gee Cordova currently resides in Austin, Texas, where he teaches Suzuki violin, viola, and Early Childhood with the Suzuki Strings of Austin. He also serves as Orchestra Director at Chisholm Trail Middle School in Round Rock ISD and directs the Greater Austin Suzuki Institute, which had its inaugural year in 2013. He is an active performer serving as Assistant Principal Violist with Austin Opera Orchestra. Daniel is an active clinician giving presentations at national conferences, as well as a guest teacher at workshops around the country. He is a frequent presenter, having given sessions at the Texas Orchestra Director's Association Conference in 2015 and 2016, Texas Music Educators Association Conference 2014 and 2016, Suzuki Association of the Americas conferences in 2010 and 2012, and ASTA conference in Santa Clara in 2010. He did web conference presentations for the SAA Parents As Partners in 2012, 2013, and 2016. In the summers, Daniel has taught at various summer programs such as the Utah Intermountain Suzuki Strings Institute, the Ozark Suzuki Institute, and the Japan-Seattle Suzuki Institute. In May 2012, Mr. Gee was awarded the Suzuki Association of the America’s Certificate of Achievement, an award given to teachers who demonstrate an outstanding commitment to excellence in their teaching. Outside of teaching, Daniel enjoys spending time with his dogs, Bamboo and Tristan, and finding the best tacos in Austin.

    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.

    Kelli Ingels (OK) Violin

    Kelli Ingels is the founder and director of the Norman School for Strings, a Suzuki school located in her hometown of Norman, Oklahoma. Kelli won a position with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic while an undergraduate at the University of Oklahoma. She also plays for the Oklahoma City Ballet, and has played for the Tulsa Ballet, Tulsa Symphony, and Lyric Theatre. In her 30 years as a professional musician, she has performed the greatest works for orchestra and shared the stage with acclaimed concert artists, but her biggest loves are teaching and Suzuki education. Kelli is a believer in life-long learning and has spent her summers traveling around the country supplementing her training. She has trained extensively with Cathryn Lee at the Greater Austin Suzuki Institute and was privileged to become a member of the faculty there in the summers of 2018 and 2019. One of the highlights of her summer travels is meeting so many wonderful Suzuki families and teachers, and she is thrilled to be in Lafayette as a member of the Acadiana Suzuki Strings Institute faculty this year.

    James Hutchins (MD) Violin

    James Hutchins is a registered Suzuki/Teacher Trainer who lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, with his wonderful and gorgeous wife and his fabulous and entertaining son. He grew up in the Suzuki Method, has been a Suzuki teacher for over 25 years and is a proud Suzuki dad. James is a registered teacher trainer who has taught at workshops, institutes and classes around the world, including South Korea, Iceland, Peru, Lithuania, Singapore, Malaysia, Bermuda, the Bahamas and throughout the States. James was a guest Clinician at the 67th Suzuki Method Summer School in Matsumoto, Japan, which was Dr. Suzuki's school. His studio has performed for former Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Clinton at the White House, at the National Zoo, the U.S. Capitol, the Maryland State Capitol, the Lincoln Memorial, the National Aquarium and on the Millennium Stage and with the National Symphony at The Kennedy Center. They have also played the National Anthem for the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Wizards and Nationals. James also had the honor of performing for Dr. and Mrs. Suzuki at their home in Japan.

    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.

    Alice Ann O’Neill (OH) Cello/Cello Teacher Trainer

    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) Cello

    Molly Goforth is an active chamber and orchestral musician, performing in over 50 events annually. Ms. Goforth is the principal cellist of the Baton Rouge 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 UL-Lafayette and the Baton Rouge-based group Magnolia Strings. She has worked as a recording artist for various groups, including  Bonsoir Catin and Marc Broussard, both Grammy nominated. Ms. Goforth also maintains an active private studio in addition to teaching high school string orchestra at O. Comeaux High School. 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.
  • 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 - June 2-5, 2021

Registration for ASSI will be limited due to social distancing considerations. All state and national guidelines will be followed at all times including masks, social distancing, and CASPR units in all spaces.
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 new this year, World Music 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 Music Drumming class, and an elective each day.

Cello Book 2 Teacher Training - May 28-May 31 & June 5

Acadiana Strings Suzuki Institute presents  Book 2 Cello Training with Dr. Alice Ann O’Neill, May 28-May 31 & June 5 Online.  In this course, Dr. O’Neill will cover many aspects of how to develop your beginning cello students and how to successfully teach the pieces in Suzuki Book 2. To register for this course, you must have Suzuki Book 1 Training registered through the Suzuki Association of the Americas and also be a current member of the SAA.


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.
ESA does not discriminate on the basis of physical disability, race, religion, gender, or national or ethnic origin.
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