Free Flash Cards!

Flash cardsThese are flash cards that Mary Kay made for her students and offered to share.  They include time signatures, dynamic levels, basic staff items, all harp symbols used in the Suzuki Books 1 and 2, and all other musical symbols used in Books 1 and 2.  Print them on colored cardstock (I always use yellow for this set) and cut them apart.  If you want them to last forever, cover them with clear contact paper and trim the edges.  Also included is an explanation of all the symbols.   Click this link for a PDF file:  Flash Cards    Hope you enjoy them!

AHS Competition Results, 2009

Competition finalists

Back row: Elizabeth White, Carrie Brown, Emily Clarkson, Amy Buescher; Front Row: Kira Krupa, Caroline Richards, Kinsey McNevin; Not pictured: MacKenzie Hammel, Emily Levin


Several Suzuki students entered the American Harp Society (AHS) competition this year.  Nine of them made it to the final round held in Salt Lake City, June 26th – July 2nd.  Every one of them lived up to their Suzuki training and played beautifully!!


The final results were as follows:

Junior Division

  • Caroline Richards, 4th place

Intermediate I Division

  • Kinsey McNevin, 1st place and special prize for the best Litton Prelude
  • Kira Krupa, 3rd place
  • Carrie Brown, 4th place
  • Amy Buescher, 5th place

Intermediate II Division

  • Emily Clarkson, 4th place (tie) and Salzedo prize for the best Whirlwind
  • MacKenzie Hammel, 4th place (tie)

Advanced Division

  • Elizabeth White, 2nd place and Salzedo prize for the best Variations on a Theme in Ancient Style

Young Professional Division

  • Emily Levin, 3rd place

Lyon & Healy Awards

  • Elizabeth White (one of three prizes awarded)
  • Emily Levin (honorable mention)

For the AHS competition, the list of three required pieces is published a year in advance.  The music is very difficult for the given age group.  Students are required to submit a CD of the three pieces by April 1st.  Over 30 CD’s were submitted for each division, and only 6-8 students were chosen to be finalists.  Our congratulations to each of these students for their fine work!!

And of course it would not have been possible without the guidance of their Suzuki teachers:  Delaine Fedson, ShruDeLi Ownbey, Mary Kay Waddington, and Jane Zopff.

And finally, a word of congratulations to all of those students who learned the music and submitted CD’s but were not chosen as finalists.  Each of them grew tremendously in their musicianship through this experience!  Fantastic job, each and every one of you!

(If we missed any Suzuki students who were in this competition, we sincerely apologize.  Please contact us so we can add you to the list.)

Suzuki Harpists go to Spain!

by Janell Lemire

Spain group


Four years ago, the Brenn family moved from Minnesota to Europe.  They were a very active family in LS-STEP (Lake Superior Suzuki Talent Education Program) with five children all playing instruments (harp, cello and violin).  Tiffany (the mother) also served as an executive member of the parent board.  We were sad to see them move away.

When Tiffany investigated options for her children to continue their Suzuki education, she found a Suzuki program which offered instruction for violin and cello but not harp.  After hearing about this, I assured her that Natasja and Sacha would be fine studying with a traditional teacher (yet to be found).  In conversation with Tiffany, I suggested, “How about if I give the girls music to work on and then come to Europe to follow up on it?” I was not kidding.  Natasja and Sacha did eventually find a harp teacher, Ana Maria Reyes Rojas.  She was not a Suzuki teacher but willing to teach from the repertoire.  Well, one year passed . . . and then a second year.  Finally Tiffany said, “Are you coming???”  After many discussions we started actively planning to bring a group of Suzuki harp students to Spain.  When things started to fall into place it gave us the encouragement to proceed.

The most difficult part of setting up the trip was finding pedal harps.  In June of 2007 I was promised 7 pedal harps for the group.  This was awesome!  The biggest obstacle had already been overcome.  Of course that turned out to be too good to be true.  Several months later after numerous emails rerouted to more addresses than you can imagine, I was offered only 3 pedals harps, at a cost of over $4000 for 4 days!!  Needless to say, I was feeling defeated and disappointed.

The next step involved finding a translator so we could try to negotiate with the people offering the harps.  That reduced the fee a little, but it was still prohibitive.  We were starting to panic at this point because the students needed to purchase their plane tickets, but couldn’t until we were sure we had harps!

Transporting harps in Madrid

Transporting harps in Spain

Finally I contacted Lyon & Healy in Chicago and Salt Lake.  They spent a great deal of time working out a deal with Salvi harps.  At last, I had found the support I was looking for.  I am so thankful for ShruDeLi Ownbey of Lyon & Healy West and  Marco Ghibaudo, General Manager of Salvi Harps.  Because of their work, we were finally offered 3 pedal harps and harp movers!!  They are our heroes!

In counting the 4 harps the Brenn family owned (2 lever, 2 pedal) and their teacher’s pedal harp, our group was fully equipped (with a little creativity).


Spain rehearsal

Rehearsal on Madeline Island

Meanwhile, we had been busy preparing for the tour.  The planning included exchanging many emails to arrange performance venues and plan the program.  In an attempt to develop a complete vision, we met on Madeline Island at the Brenn’s summer home in August of 2007.  LS-STEP harpists and a few parents traveled to the island with harps and swimsuits to spend 2 days practicing and figuring out a concert program. We started working early,  stayed up late and had a great time doing so.


When we arrived in Spain, all three of the Salvi-provided harps were where we needed them.  Theresa & Jesus Suárez were very gracious and accommodating with the instruments, moving not only the ones from their store, but the extra instruments that could not fit into the other vehicles.

We performed two concerts – one in a local School, and the other, in conjunction with the Suzuki School, at a beautiful Cathedral.  The concerts went very well.  It was extemely motivating to play for audiences who were so attentive and intrigued by our playing.  I don’t think anyone even made a sound during the performances!  Our audiences had never seen so many harps in one place at one time.  

Our Espana program included string accompaniments for several pieces.  Tuesday’s program is attached.  (The Chanson Dans La Nuit  by Carlos Salzedo and the Sonatina by Muzio Clementi with orchestra were accidentally omitted from the written program.)

 harp program

The students all played so beautifully!

We returned to the United States with a lot of excitement and enthusiasm to do this again.  It was a very rewarding experience for all who were involved.

 We would like to give our special thanks to:

  • The Suzuki Orchestra under the direction of Jose Maria Druet
  • Cellists: Ann Heyer; Tiffany, Tatjana and Tobias Brenn
  • Central High School musicians: Katie Ozan, clarinet; Trevor Cotter, oboe; Jessica Paul, flute; Erin Maly and Sunny Nguyen, violin; Ann Heyer, cello; and Keenan McIntyre-Talbot, string bass.
  • Harpists:  Claire Gamble, Azalea Ginete, Grace Heyer, Kailee Lemire, Mia Minkkinen, Katie Sieger, Natasja and Sacha Brenn
  • Instructors: Janell Lemire and Ana Maria Reyes Rojas 

And lastly – a huge thank you to Tiffany Brenn for helping to make it all happen.  The Brenn’s hospitality is like none other.  We had an incredible experience!!!


Janell Lemire

Harps to Spain

Submitted by Azalea Ginete

Bienvenidos! It is fall right now, but Concierto de Berano was an exciting trip to remember.

My group of seven girls together with Ms. Janell and our parents left for Spain on June 10th. We were in Europe for 2 weeks but time flew fast. The 12 hour time difference made us tired when we arrived in the town where Señora Brenn and her family live. Most of the girls stayed at her house while Mom, Dad and I stayed at a hotel a few miles from away. We practiced every day at Senora Brenn’s house.

We had to practice intensely for 2 days since our first concert was on June 14th at the Iglesia de los Padres with the Suzuki school Orchestra. Oh, it was so much fun to play with other kids! We felt united in our music – playing together in unison our Suzuki pieces – from Andante to Glissando Waltz, to Two Guitars … it was awesome! It was also a fond reunion for the group to see the Brenn family again. They played their harps and cellos too. They were very nice and gracious hosts. Our first concert started late, close to 9:30 pm and we got home close to 11:00 pm!

In Spain, after the siesta, people eat late, like 8-9 pm and because there is still sun at 10 pm, things slow down after midnight. You have to stay in the restaurant for 2-3 hours to enjoy the food and take your time, otherwise you will offend the waiter and restaurant owner.

Our 2nd concert was on June 17th at the school. The Auditorium was full and we played with the school orchestra. Señora Brenn played her cello too. Not a lot of people know about Suzuki harp lessons with Señorita Ana Maria Reys, so it was a good exposure for other students to listen to the harp and welcome them to harp lessons.

In between concerts and after our two concerts, we toured Barcelona, Madrid, Toledo and Segovia. My family and I explored Barcelona on our own for 3 days. It was helpful that Mom and Dad speak a little Spanish; we got around quite well. I have a growing appreciation for the Spanish culture after 2 summers of language camp and now that I am taking formal Spanish lessons.

We walked a lot, rode the subway, the tour bus and the bullet train. Oh boy, was it fast and comfy!

The food was very good – I ate a lot of gelato, churros with chocolate and tasted many kinds of jamon! Ha.. Ha.. I drank Limon all the time. I even found my own street in the pouring rain – Calle de la Azalea! Of course, Dad had to take a picture of that.

We ate paella at the Plaza Mayor after touring Palacio Real, saw the paintings of Goya, Velasquez and Picasso – up close and personal at Museo del Prado.

We were in awe when we watched Ballet Flamenco, Gaudi’s work, the Olympic compound in Barcelona and to see the world renowned Palau de la Musica Catalana.

The countryside was breathtaking as we went to Toledo and Segovia, and the weather picture perfect (80-85 degrees and not humid). The Alcazar Castle was majestic as well as the Aqueduct that the Romans built and of course, the Cathedral in Toledo was so pure and beautiful. You can just sit there and be silent and just soak up its beauty.

Music is so much fun and Europe was great! Playing my harp is like playing with the angels.


Azelia Ginete (my name in Spanish, said my Spanish teacher)