150 musicians compete

Glenn Sigler, age 7, Joplin, has played the violin for two years.

Kristin Wilfing

Glenn Sigler, age 7, Joplin, has played the violin for two years.

Meagan Pietrzak

Suzuki Violin Academy hosted the 15th-annual String Festival on March 4 at Missouri Southern’s Webster Hall auditorium.

“The festival began as a String Festival which started in spring of 1992 with about 20 students performing,” said Kexi Liu, director of the Suzuki Violin Academy (SVA). “This year we had 130-150 participants.”

“The festival is part of the National Junior Festivals of the National Federation of Music Clubs,” said Carol Echols, coordinator for the festival. “Missouri Southern’s Suzuki Violin Academy is a member of Missouri Federation of Music Clubs.”

Around 150 students from surrounding communities participated in the festival showing their talents in violin, piano and vocal lessons. The SVA currently has about 50 students and had 35 students participate in this year’s festival.

“Those students not participating were not ready or just had a schedule conflict,” Liu said.

The festival is a non-competitive event. Students do not compete against their peers, but rather against themselves. They are encouraged to do their best and then are rated on a five-point scale with 5 being “superior” and 1 being “needs improvement.” 26 of the participating SVA students received a superior rating. When students accumulate 15 points (in three or more years) a trophy is received. Additional points merit a larger trophy.

“Everything went very well this year,” Liu said. “It was very successful. The judges had great comments and the students came very well prepared.”

“Students must have a teacher and that teacher must be a member of the National Federation of Music Clubs to participate in the yearly festival,” he said.

Liu played violin for 10 years with the National Broadcasting Symphony Orchestra of China, and taught violin at Beijing Broadcasting College for several years before coming to the United States in 1984 from Beijing, China.

He earned his master’s degree in music, with honor of Pi Kappa Lamda, at East Carolina University and his doctoral degree at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He received Suzuki teacher training Book 1 to 9 at and has several publications in music, including two books and an article on violin teaching published in the British journal, The Strad.

The Suzuki Violin Academy accepts members from the ages of four through 18 (pre-college). If interested, contact Liu at 625-9681.