Highlights of the First Decade (1964-1974)
Dr. Thomas Rolston, professor of violin at U of A,
traveled to Japan and met Dr. Shinichi Suzuki.
He returns to Edmonton full of enthusiasm for the establishment of a similar program to teach young students.
Dr. Thomas Rolston
Dr. Shinichi Suzuki
April 11, 1965
First meeting with prospective parents interested in starting Suzuki violin – 80 families attended.
Yoko Oike arrives in Canada from Japan. Yoko Oike is a student of Dr. Suzuki.
2 one week sessions were held at the Banff School of Fine Arts attended by 26 children and their mothers.
40 students begin violin lessons with Yoko Oike in the basement of Grace Lutheran Church.
An additional 40 students begin lessons with Miss Joan Lord of Edmonton working closely with Miss Oike.
A group of 25-30 mothers were meeting regularly with Mr. Rolston to play as a Mama’s Orchestra.
Two more teachers from Dr. Suzuki’s program in Japan join STE made possible by a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts. Yasako Tanaka and Tomoko Otsuka joined the ranks of STE along with 6 senior music students from the U. of A. music department to teach approximately 140 children.
Mr. Gordon Richardson starts the STE cello program. This program started with 5 and 6 year olds because smaller cellos were unavailable at that time.
The Edmonton Suzuki program was met with nation-wide interest and has helped with the organization of other societies in Calgary (1967) then Bellingham WA, Hamilton ON, Regina and Saskatoon SK, Vancouver and Vernon BC and Amsterdam (Holland).
Mrs. Suzuki visits Edmonton to hear the children and meet the parents and teachers.
25 STE students joined with the ESO under Lawrence Leonard to play in an “Adventures in Music” presentation for other children.
The first STE orchestra was formed under the direction of Thomas Rolston – later under Ernest Kassian – “the only orchestra where very few could reach the floor when seated on the edge of their chairs”
Classes were held in the basement of St. Joachim’s Church, the basement of St. Joseph’s Cathedral, the Metropolitan Church Hall and in the Arts Building of the University of Alberta.
Orchestra program expanded to three orchestras under the direction of Mr. Lawrence Fisher, Mr. Michael Bowie and Mr.
Harry Hill. Claude Kenneson assumed leadership of the cello program and cello parties.
23 children and their mothers spent 3 weeks at the Banff School of Fine Arts in concentrated study under Miss Tanaka and Mr. Kim. This proved so successful that it was repeated in the summer of 1973.
The advanced cellists and violinists of STE joined the Edmonton Youth Orchestra in a benefit concert for Talent Education and played for a packed house at Convocation Hall.
September 1973 – June 1975
STE housed and administered from the Alberta College Campus.
Parents were first brought into the STE board. Betty Parker Jervis first served as treasurer and then later as president of the newly formed parent board.
24 STE students joined the Edmonton Youth Orchestra. A significant contribution by STE into the wider Edmonton musical community.