Determined not to be beaten by lockdown, the South Downs Suzuki group took to the Internet! Early on, Angela Davis held a Zoom piano concert and like so many of us, discovered the joy of including family and friends in other countries who might not have been able to attend in normal circumstances. 

Lynnette Gottlieb had a small concert on the patio when the pandemic hit, and three wonderful concerts were hosted at the Steyning Community Centre, where each family sat in their “bubbles” with their own refreshments, so we were able to have quite a large audience. James Lisney and his daughter Emma came down from London to perform for us which was a real treat. The youngest children had not had a group together, only Zoom. They were great, and at the end the audience joined in clapping, it was like being at the Proms. 

In August, Sue Thomas and Sarah Nolan hosted a 3 day, morning only violin course in Lewes, which was completely full with 25 violinists from Books 1-7 and ages 7-15. Families camped or stayed in hotels and farms, and had the afternoons free to explore Lewes Castle, the beach, Brighton and other Sussex attractions. 

Marian Robertson - involved with the Muscular Dystrophy charity - heard an appeal from Captain Tom’s family to do 100 of ‘anything’ and she recorded 100 Suzuki pieces from memory on several instruments, raising over £700. 

More recently, Graham Rix (now living near Eastry & Sandwich in Kent but with a full practice of students in London) directed both the Early and Advanced Stages Suzuki piano workshops at the Royal Academy of Music on Sunday 30th January. Although this is a London Suzuki Group event there were places open for British Suzuki Music Association students too. This year as part of the Advanced Stages workshop the pianists played short chamber music pieces with Suzuki string players. There were over 50 families in attendance and in spite of Covid precautions and some cancellations, everyone was able to enjoy being back on an in person workshop! A great chance for everyone to meet the larger Suzuki family and to enjoy some live music making once again with four concerts in the course of the day. From the South East area we had students from Bromley to Folkestone and it was lovely to have their contributions and involvement.

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