STE Timeline – 50 years of STE

STE History Timeline 1964/1965 to 2014/15

50 Years of Suzuki method instruction in Edmonton

STE Timeline

STE Timeline
01 Jun, 1964


Summer 1964 – Thomas Rolston (professor of violin at U of A) travels to Japan and meets Dr. Shinichi Suzuki. He returns to Edmonton full of enthusiasm for the establishment of a similar program to teach young students.

11 Apr, 1965

First Meeting

April 11, 1965 – first meeting with prospective parents interested in starting Suzuki violin – 80 families attended.

01 Jul, 1965

Yoko Okie

July 1965 – Yoko Okie arrives in Canada from Japan. Yoko Okie 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.

01 Sep, 1965

Violin Lessons

September 1965 – 40 students begin violin lessons with Yoko Okie in the basement of Grace Lutheran Church.

01 Oct, 1965


October 1965 – an additional 40 students begin lessons with Miss Joan Lord of Edmonton working closely with Miss Okie.

21 Dec, 1965

Mama’s Orchestra

By Christmas 1965 a group of 25-30 mothers were meeting regularly with Mr. Rolston to play as a Mama’s Orchestra.

01 Jul, 1966

New Teachers

Summer 1966 – 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.

01 Sep, 1966

Cello Program

Sept. 1966 – 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.

01 Sep, 1966

A milestone

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).

01 Jul, 1968

Mrs. Suzuki

July 1968 – Mrs. Suzuki visits Edmonton to hear the children and meet the parents and teachers.

01 Oct, 1969

Adventure in Music

Oct. 1969 – 25 STE students joined with the ESO under Lawrence Leonard to play in an Adventures in Music presentation for other children.

01 Jan, 1970

STE Orchestra

1970 – 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.

01 Jan, 1971

Orchestra Expansion

1971-72 – 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.

01 Jul, 1972

Banff School

July 1972 – 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.

01 Sep, 1973

Alberta College Campus

September 1973-June 1975 – STE housed and administered from the Alberta College Campus.

01 Feb, 1973

Concert and STE board

Feb. 1973 – the advacned 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.
– 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.

01 Jan, 1974

Youth Orchestra

1974 – 24 STE students joined the Edmonton Youth Orchestra. A significant contribution by STE into the wider Edmonton musical community

01 Jan, 1975


1975-76 – Group lessons held at D.S. MacKenzie School.
– Mitsuru Sato from Japan joined the cello teaching faculty of STE
– STE moved to Queen Alexandria School.

01 Jun, 1977

Workshop and Training

June 1977-78 – International Workshop held in Edmonton attended by Dr. and Mrs. Suzuki and over 300 Suzuki families and teachers from Western Canada
– STE establishes a three year in house teacher training program. First teacher trainees are Rob Hryciw and Kathy Adams.

01 Jan, 1979

International Year of the Child

1979 – to commemorate the International Year of the Child STE commissioned Allan Bell to compose 12 solos and duets for violin and cello entitled Encounters – these were premiered in the spring of 1980