STE Timeline – 50 years of STE

STE History Timeline 1964/1965 to 2014/15

50 Years of Suzuki method instruction in Edmonton

STE Timeline


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.

First Meeting

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

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.

Violin Lessons

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


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

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.

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.

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.

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).

Mrs. Suzuki

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Alberta College Campus

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

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.

Youth Orchestra

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


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.

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.

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

Various events

1980 – 45 STE students toured Northern Alberta to celebrate Alberta’s 75th Anniversary and to recognize Florie Shaw, a generous benefactor of STE.
Fall – STE started a viola program under the direction of Prof. Michael Bowie.
– Cherie Larson and Victoria Clarke started in the teacher training program as teacher trainees

New Staffs

1981 – Rob Hryciw began as volunteer Program Co-ordinator. Cynthia Musa and Wendy Grant joined the violin teaching staff and started the teacher training program.

6th Suzuki International Conference

1982 – STE commissions Violet Archer to compose Miniatures for violin and piano to be performed at the 6th Suzuki International Conference to be held in Matsumoto Japan.
A group of 18 students, 15 parents and 9 teachers from STE attended the 6th Suzuki International Conference in Matsumoto, Japan, and also toured Tokyo, Kyoto and Korea. While there a proposal was submitted to host the 7th Suzuki International Conference in Edmonton. Parents and teachers also observed Suzuki kindergartens in Japan and Korea with the idea of someday starting one in Edmonton.

New Location

1984 – moved location to King Edward School, affectionately known as “our castle”.

7th Suzuki International Conference

Sept 1985-86 – STE hosts the 7th Suzuki International Conference attended by Dr. and Mrs. Suzuki and 1700 teachers, parents and students from Canada, the US, Europe and Japan.
– Holly Maccagno becomes the first administrator of STE after serving for several years on the board.
– STE establishes a Suzuki Kindergarten modelled on what had been observed in Japan and Korea. It began with 18 students and 2 teachers

Jed Fisk Scholarship

1986 – Jed Fisk Scholarship Fund established in memory of Jed Fisk, a young STE student who died of leukaemia in 1985. This scholarship is awarded biannually to a students “who exhibit an extraordinary love of music and pursue this passion diligently”. The first scholarship was awarded in May 1987.
– double bass program was introduced under the guidance of Ioan Tetel.

Sympony for Kid’s Concert

1987 – STE students perform with Edmonton Symphony Orchestra on a “Symphony for Kid’s” concert
– Sanford Reuning came from Ithaca, New York, to present a workshop for STE students and teachers

Betty Parker-Jervis

June 1987 – Betty Parker-Jervis steps down from the board of STE. She is STE’s longest running president and successfully held STE to the core principles of Suzuki education through the many changes that ensued during her tenure.

Summer Suzuki Institute

Summer 1987 – STE and the U of A Music Department sponsored the first Summer Suzuki Institute. It was attended by 100 violin, viola and cello students and teacher trainees.

Adult Violin Class

Fall 1988 – adult violin classes were introduced and taught by Cynthia Musa

2nd Suzuki Summer Institute

Summer 1989 – a 2nd successful Suzuki Summer Institute is held at the University of Alberta

25th Anniversary Concert

May 6, 1990 – STE held our 25th Anniversary Concert at the Red Barn.


October 1990 – Mr. John Kim retired from teaching with STE.
– Viola workshop for STE students and teachers with William Preucil from Iowa

Violin Masterclasses

May 1991 – Violin masterclasses for STE students with Bill Starr, a pioneer in the Suzuki world from Boulder, Colorado.

New Artistic Director

Sept. 1991 – Elizabeth Jones Cherwick appointed as Artistic Director of STE
– formalized beginner process implemented with interviews, mandatory observations and parent sessions

Cello Workshop

October 1992 – cellos teachers workshop with cellist, Jean Dexter

Gala Graduation and Fiddlers Workshop

1993 – Gala Graduation program is implemented patterned after the Japanese Talent Education program started by Dr. Suzuki
summer 1993 – STE moves to 7211-96A Ave. Formerly the St. Bernard Catholic School.
– Fiddlers Workshop held for the first time

New STE Administrator

September 1994 – Loretta Isaac appointed STE Administrator

30th Anniversary Concert and Benefit Concert

1995 – STE 30th Anniversary Concert at Convocation Hall with a reception at the Power Plant
March 1995 – STE violin students perform Turkey in the Straw with renowned children’s performer Paul Hann at a benefit concert

New co-directors

Summer 1996 – Summer Institute 1996 – Rob Hryciw, Cherie Larson and Loretta Isaac co-directors

1997 Events

Summer 1997 – Society for Talent Education and Suzuki Charter School become two independent organization each with their own parent board
– Heather Christison hired as Administrator of the Society for Talent Education and for the Suzuki Charter School and Cherie Larson was hired as the Music Director of both organizations

1997 – Solo Day recitals were incorporated into the Monday night group class program of STE. These are informal student solo recitals held as part of the regular group class program
– Diana Nuttall hired as Institute Director for the Alberta Summer Suzuki Institute (ASSI)
February 1998 – Daphne Hughes workshop with STE teachers and Holiday Sharing Concerts. Each group class presented a polished piece to the other groups

Dr. Suzuki memorial service

April 1998 – Dr. Suzuki memorial service held. Beth Cherwick and Diana Nuttall gave insightful addresses, as both studied with Dr. Suzuki in Japan.

Chamber Music Program

summer 1998 – ASSI – first Chamber Music Program for advanced students was introduced

Suzuki Centennial Celebration

October 1998 – Suzuki Centennial Celebration – worldwide concerts were held celebrating Dr. Suzuki’s 100th birthday

Workshop and Rehearsals

January 1999 – Edmund Sprunger came to do workshops for STE parents, teachers and students. Thomas Rolston came from Banff to lead students in orchestra rehearsals through the weekend

New Administrator

February 1999 – Jennifer Andel became the administrator of STE

Concert and Fiddler’s Workshop

1999 – Lottery Concerts introduced to the STE Monday night group program. In these concerts students would bring a hat/bag full of their recent pieces and pick one at random from the hat/bag and perform it
summer 1999 – 4th Fiddler’s Workshop held with performances at Capilano Mall


September 2000 – quartets for senior students were added as part of the senior student Monday night group program

National Suzuki Youth Orchestra

May 2000 – 2 students accepted into the National Suzuki Youth Orchestra as part of the 9th SAA Conference (Marcus Becker, cello and Sarah Frank, violin)


summer 2000 – ASSI – Canadian Music theme – each group class performed a piece by a Canadian composer

National Missing Children’s Day Concert

May 2001 – STE Violas feature in the National Missing Children’s Day in Canada concert

National Suzuki Youth Orchestra

May 2002 – STE violinist Shalan Strelau plays with the National Suzuki Youth Orchestra at the 10th SAA Conference


summer 2002 – ASSI – theme – improvisation


September 2002 – ArtStart is created – Suzuki violin and viola teacher volunteer time to teach underprivileged inner city children violin and viola in private and group lessons

Suzuki Triangle talks

February 2003 – Suzuki Triangle talks – parent, student, teacher interview week is introduced

international missing children’s event

May 2003 – STE violas perform for Child Find – international missing children’s event


summer 2004 – ASSI – ASSI and the Montreal Suzuki Institute receive a grant from SEVEK to allow a senior student exchange between institutes – senior students spend one week in Edmonton at ASSI then the following week in Montreal at the Suzuki Institute there

Students and Teachers

September 2005 – STE has an enrolment of 250 students and a faculty of 20 teachers

Celebratory concert

May 2005 – STE teachers and alumni gather to form an orchestra under the direction of Thomas Rolston. The orchestra performs and accompanies the current STE students in a celebratory concert at the Winspear Centre for Music to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of STE. This event is shared by the Piano School (celebrating their 25th Anniversary and the Suzuki Charter School (celebrating their 10th Anniversary)

7th Fiddlers workshop

summer 2005 – 7th Fiddlers workshop – final concert at the Edmonton Fringe Festival