Evening of music brings children opportunity
Aber Suzuki Center’s 23rd annual fundraiser, Music of the Masters, will help provide music lessons for local children who might otherwise be unable to participate. The event will take place at 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14, in the Noel Fine Arts Center, 1800 Portage St., Stevens Point.
Tickets are $50 each or $25 for students. To purchase tickets call 715-346-3033 or email [email protected]
The program will begin in the courtyard with substantial appetizers and a cash bar. Entertainment will begin at 7 p.m., with music performed by current students, Suzuki alumni and Suzuki faculty. Following the concert there will be dessert and beverages served in the courtyard, and door prize winners will be announced.
In a new interactive portion of the evening, guests will have the opportunity to play a harp in exchange for a donation.
Patricia D’Ercole, director of Aber Suzuki Center, said they hope to raise $10,000 from this event, all of which will go toward needs-based scholarships for music lessons.
“Finances shouldn’t be the reason why your child can’t do this,” said D’Ercole. “I want to help every child have this.”
Part of the vision of the Suzuki Institute is to invest in children so they become engaged citizens who are involved in their communities and support the arts.
“The vision of Dr. Suzuki was that you are going to have the police chief and the superintendent of the school board and mayor and the people in leadership positions who are going to be creative problem-solvers because of what they learned in music,” D’Ercole said. “They will be compassionate people because they have learned how to play a phrase and do so beautifully and sensitively. If they can do that in music, that will carry over into how they approach other human beings in life.”
The Suzuki Center in Stevens Point serves more than 300 students a semester, ranging in age from infant to 18. Part of the methods used also involve parents in the lessons for younger children.
“I think one of the things parents will tell you the most is they see children developing discipline and confidence, poise in front of a group, and their own relationship with their child growing and developing as they work together toward a common goal,” D’Ercole said.
Studying music has many benefits for children including learning to listen, learning to work toward a goal and learning how to strive for improvement, D’Ercole said.
“One of the things that the arts teach so well is that you are never satisfied completely with what you are doing, you are always trying to do something better,” said D’Ercole. “What a great lesson to teach kids in life. In music you don’t advance just because you became a certain age, you really only advance because you have a certain skill set that allows you to take the next step. Music is a cumulative skill. So kids have to learn how to deal with a little bit of failure and learn that if they keep trying and with the support of parents and teachers, eventually they will get it.”
The Suzuki Center has been serving students in Stevens Point since 1967. The program is entirely self-sustaining. Though the program does receive in-kind donations from the university, such as the space in which they run the facility, they receive no state funding.
“The communication cap stone class did a survey last year and found that 95 percent of residents feel that the Suzuki program is one of the gems of the community,” said D’Ercole. “We need to do all that we can to keep it at the high standard that we have to be able to attract the caliber of teachers that we have and we need to keep it affordable for as many students as we can, and these scholarships help us do that.”