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History of Suzuki Plus

Suzuki Plus was started by a group of parents who recognized the need for a support group to provide enrichment beyond music lessons offered by Suzuki School of Elgin (SSE). When these parents understood what SSE was offering their children by Lamar Blum, they offered to form the group Suzuki Plus to act like the PTO of a school. SSE offers the musical training by teaching weekly private and group lessons. Suzuki Plus stepped in and started by running the annual spring concert which had grown into a production that was too elaborate for one person to handle. This began in 1988. That same year, 25 families took a tour group of students to Yellowstone National Park. The group played at Old Faithful Inn for five evenings delighting the visitors who were in the lodge. The trip was sponsored by Suzuki Plus and provided financial help to each family who took part in the trip. In 1992, a trip to the Williamsburg, VA area was equally successful. 1994 saw the group, once again, at Yellowstone Park with a different group of families. These trips and any programs played in the Chicagoland area have been sponsored and supervised by Suzuki Plus. The group accepts the engagements, supplies the outfits for the program, hires the accompanist, provides all necessary information to parents and evaluates the program afterwards.

A library housed in the SSE studio is supplied and managed by Suzuki Plus. There is a budget for books, CDs and videos pertaining to music for students and adults. Students often donate a favorite book or CD to the collection. This has been in existence since 1992.

Weekend workshops have been a part of the Suzuki Plus offerings since 1995. Guest clinicians are hired and brought to Elgin to supplement the regular teaching and to bring another point of view from master teachers from around the country. Offering included fiddling classes, rhythm & movement classes, African drumming classes, art classes and parent discussion groups. Workshops have been a bi-annual offering through 2006.

A scholarship program was started in 1990 with two purposes. One was to help pay tuition to summer institutes. Up to one-half of any institute tuition would be paid by Suzuki Plus for parents who participated actively in the organization. The other was to recognize student and family commitment to the SSE program for graduating seniors. Any student who was in the program for five or more years is entitled to a $500.00 scholarship. Guidelines are set by Suzuki Plus. Since the first scholarship was granted there have been 31 recipients.

A newsletter called "The Write Note" began in 1994. It contained a letter from the president, an article from the director, upcoming events, drawings and writings from students, accomplishments by students and contributions from colleagues from around the country. This year, after a two-year silence, "The Write Note" has emerged in the form of an e-newsletter which can be sent to those interested by request.

To date, Suzuki Plus has remained active and dedicated to enriching the lives of the students involved in the Suzuki School of Elgin.