Many thanks to all the students who participated in this year’s Spring Festival group performance this past Sunday, May 15. You all played so beautifully, and displayed such growth and maturity in both ability and confidence. which was a testament to the value of group class alongside private lessons in developing well-rounded musicianship. A heartfelt hank you to all the families who made the trips to group class on Tuesday evenings throughout the school year, making this learning experience for students – and this wonderful concert – possible! To those who weren’t able to join us for group classes this school year, we certainly hope you’ll join us in ’22-’23!
Welcome to 2021 at West County Strings! Kirby and I are so looking forward to each and every teaching moment, learning opportunity, and continuing to develop and deepen our relationship with each of you during this upcoming year. By the end of 2021, we hope and trust that each of you will look back at a vast chasm between your ability when you started the year as compared to where you ended up!
Here’s a few key dates for the beginning of 2021 to note:
Private lessons will resume on Wednesday, January 6 and run through Saturday, May 29.
Group classes will resume on Tuesday evenings at the beginning of March and run through May.
Missouri Federation of Music Clubs opportunities are available through the local “Virtuoso Club.” These include the chance at a $500 scholarship as a winner of the Summer Music Camp Scholarship Competition, District Honors and the chance to compete at the State level through District Competition, and a performance opportunities, insightful judge feedback, ribbons and points towards trophies as part of the Spring Festival. All events will be held via video submission this spring, and your teacher will be in touch regarding repertoire selection and requirements, if you have not begun preparing your repertoire already.
And of course, as always, we will have our Spring Solo Recitals and Spring Festival Group Performance to look forward to and work hard to prepare for, as well!
I think that about sums it up for now, so we look forward to seeing you all again beginning on the 6th, and we trust that you’ve been listening, reviewing, and practicing new material over the break. If you’ve fallen a bit rusty, now would be a great time to dust things off and buff them up. We’ll see you soon!
It’s hard to believe it’s already time for Thanksgiving – in part because the weather has yet to finally make up its mind to turn to a truly crisp, cold autumn air, and in part because the challenges of this year have made it harder to look up from our day-to-day lives and look forward to milestones on the horizon. I think that makes it all the more important to really take a moment to celebrate what we have to be thankful for this year! As we head into a week of Thanksgiving Break (remember, no lessons from November 23-28!) here’s a few highlights that I’d like to share:
As mentioned above, we’ve had an incredibly mild Fall ’20 Semester thus far – neither unbearably hot, untenably cold, or frequently raining – and never before in my life have I been so thankful for good weather! Good weather has afforded us the opportunity to meet together for lessons and group classes outdoors, which gave us access to two things that have been hard to come by this year – in-person interaction, and safety and peace of mind. So, while the weather is usually something reserved to talk about when we can’t think up any real topic of conversation, this year it’s something I’m truly, truly thankful for.
Speaking of in-person interaction, I don’t think there’s ever been a year in which I’ve gotten to know each and every student and family in our studio better. Even those of you whom Kirby and I have had the privilege of working with for nearly a decade, I feel we’ve gotten to know much more deeply this year, as we’ve shared our feelings on the struggles of this year, learned from each other, and supported one another. We’ve also had unique opportunities to stay connected with members of our alumni community, which grows larger year by year! Every year, I’m thankful for each and every student and their family and the relationship that we share, but never have I been more thankful for that opportunity, nor has the thought of our weekly interactions brought more of a smile to my face than this year!
And on the topic of safety and peace of mind, I am truly thankful for the respect, consideration, understanding, and flexibility each of our students and their families has shown as we have navigated the ever-changing landscape of this year, and I want to thank you all for the open and honest communication that we have been able to stay engaged in to try to find the best way forward together. As we see case numbers continue to steadily rise and enter into what may well be the most challenging part of the school year, let’s keep our communication open and honest so that West County Strings can remain a safe place for students and their families to be!
Last but certainly not least, there has been one big silver lining to this year for both Kirby and myself. Most summers, Kirby and I are both engaged in teaching at half-a-dozen or so workshops, camps, and institutes. As the spring progressed into summer, we saw these engagements forced to close down one after the other. And while we were saddened by the loss of opportunity to see friends, colleagues, and students that we only get to reconnect with once every year, a new opportunity was presented to us that we haven’t had since West County Strings began, for which I am truly thankful –the opportunity to teach our own students each and every week of the summer! It was a truly special, memorable experience to work with so many of you every single week of the summer, and now to see that planting, watering, and tending leading to bearing fruit in your playing this fall!
As Thanksgiving Break draws to a conclusion, we’ll have updates on everything from our December 13 Zoom “Home Concert,” to All-Suburban and All-State auditions coming up at the start of 2021, and Missouri Federation of Music Clubs opportunities following shortly thereafter in the spring. But for now, we hope you all have a happy, healthy, restful, and rejuvenating Thanksgiving!