News and Events

Come Add Your Voice!

Join us for our annual Interfaith Holiday Sing-along

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 3RD at 2 pm

at the SPRINGFIELD CENTRAL LIBRARY, 220 State St. Springfield 01103

Please join us in the spirit of unity as we come together in song to affirm the value of the diverse faith traditions in our community!  Let us grow in understanding and appreciation of each other’s faiths as we share international holiday music, traditions and food from the celebrations of Chanukah, Christmas and Reyes (Three Kings Day).  The STEP Suzuki Strings, a multigenerational string ensemble, will accompany us as we sing holiday songs in English, Chinese, German, Hebrew and Spanish.  After the concert, join us for a reception and meet the performers.

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Dr. Suzuki believed that all children can learn, and so do we!

We are starting our beginning class of students and Home Teachers now.  Come observe a class to see how we learn through focus and having fun.  Beginning “pre-Twinkle” classes meet biweekly on Wednesdays at 5:30pm at South Congregational Church, which is located at 45 Maple St. behind the Classical Condominiums in Springfield.  There’s plenty of free parking.  Please enter by the rear door.  We look forward to meeting you!

 Director Lani Bortfeld leads STEP's newest students in a demonstration of how we learn Suzuki violin.  
Director Lani Bortfeld leads STEP’s newest students in a demonstration of how we learn Suzuki violin.

STEP thanks South Congregational Church, the Springfield Suzuki Partnership (SSP), STEP’s parent/teacher organization, and friends and alumni for making our May benefit concert such a success.  It was a great way to celebrate STEP’s 15th year of Music Ministry!  

STEP Suzuki Strings perform at last year's Suzuki String Serenade in the sanctuary of Springfield's historic South Congregational Church
STEP Suzuki Strings perform at last year’s Suzuki String Serenade in the sanctuary of Springfield’s historic South Congregational Church

STEP presented its 28th Annual Suzuki String Serenade – a polished, inspiring, fun and family-friendly concert of folk songs, classics, American and international music – in the beautiful and historic sanctuary of South Congregational Church, Springfield on May 20th at 6:30pm.  The concert benefited the STEP Scholarship Fund, which provides need-based financial aid and the loan of instruments to low-income families STEP students in Greater Springfield and Northern CT.

Our Book 1 students  gave a “Twinkle Prelude” before the concert.

Twinkle Prelude close-up

The concert opened with the lilting Waltz from Tchaikovsky’s Serenade, which you can hear via the Youtube link on the STEP Suzuki Strings page.  It continued with classics by Bach, Haydn and Schumann and a powerful arrangement of the African American spiritual Go Down Moses.  The concert also included international folk music from China, France, Germany and Puerto Rico and the lovely Andante from the Bach Concerto in A minor, with director Lani Bortfeld as soloist.

Bach A minor orch.

The audience was impressed by the high quality performances of the STEP soloists, chosen by audition, and enjoyed the STEP String Quartet’s performance of Gwyneth Walker’s Portable Rhythms with its jazz rhythms and blues-style melodies. The Serenade concluded with a sizzling performance of the American folk tune Old Joe Clark performed fiddle style.

Our young students have practiced many hours with the encouragement of their families, and are taught using the highest standards.
Our young students have practiced many hours with the encouragement of their families, and are taught using the highest standards.

The reception after the concert celebrated our 15 years of music ministry with three cakes and lots of delicious food!  Here the audience met the performers and learned more about this high-level, family-centered string program which has enriched Northern Connecticut and the Greater Springfield area for 15 years.

STEP’s March Solo and Chamber Concert at St. Andrew’s Church was a resounding success. From the youngest to the oldest, everyone gave their best.  The concert opened with the the Bach “Double” Concerto performed by Grace and Aislin Farris, and segued to the youngest students playing renditions of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and easy folk songs. It’s inspiring to hear the progress as the concert continues from the youngest students to oldest, performing pieces such as John Williams’ Star Wars theme and works by Bach, Gossec, Schumann, and the Gavotte from the operetta Mignon, all the way to concerto movements by Vivaldi and Kabalevsky.

The Vivace Quartet performs Haydn's Op. 20 #2
The Vivace Quartet performs Haydn’s Op. 20 #2

We heard two chamber works:    Corelli’s Trio Sonata Op. 2#1 performed by the STEP Quartet, and the first movement of Op.20 #2 by Haydn performed by the Vivace String Quartet from the Music School at Sound Crossing.

Close-up of small grp. playing

On December 4, 2016 at St. Andrew’s Church, Longmeadow, the STEP Suzuki Strings provided the instrumental accompaniment for an interfaith sing-along and also performed classics by Bach and Handel, fiddle tunes and other seasonal favorites, including Jingle Bell Rock.  We had great audience participation, singing along to holiday favorites accompanied by piano and strings, and creating a spirit of unity as we came together in song and shared international holiday music, traditions and food from the celebrations of Chanukah, Christmas and Reyes (Three Kings Day).  Young people from the audience joined the performance of Las Navidades with Latin percussion instruments,  and added the bells in Jingle Bells.

Listen to some of our holiday performance on Youtube:

https://youtu.be/3kIwU0caNpI – Las Navidades

https://youtu.be/FHAppbuLEBo – Jingle Bells

https://youtu.be/vBa3Q4ZsF7M – Dreydl & Days of Chanukah

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ymf4osCxyxU – O Jerusalem

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