Once in a Lifetime: CMS Suzuki Ensemble perform with The Piano Guys at the Fox

| October 31, 2014
Suzuki Ensemble with Joanne Keefe and The Piano Guys at the SMS Suzuki Ensemble at the Fox Theatre. “The Piano Guys were so much fun to be around. You can tell that they love what they do," said performer Fiona Carton.

CMS Suzuki Ensemble with director Joanne Keefe and The Piano Guys at the the Fox Theatre on Oct. 18: “The Piano Guys were so much fun to be around. You can tell that they love what they do,” said student performer Fiona Carton.

The students were warmly welcomed by the Fox Theatre with a special mention on the Fox Theatre’s marquee.

The students were warmly welcomed by the Fox Theatre with a special mention on the Fox Theatre’s marquee.

Violin students from the Community Music School (CMS) of Webster University’s Suzuki Ensemble joined featured act The Piano Guys onstage at the Fabulous Fox Theatre, to perform Beethoven’s 5 Secrets to a sold out crowd on Oct. 18.

The students who played were Lian Anderson, Kate Bowermaster, Clare Bolesta, Grace Bolesta, Fiona Carton, Trevor Scott, Josh Simelbauer, and Kevin Zhou. Under the direction of Joanne Keefe, the Suzuki Ensemble is comprised of students who have advanced to the highest level of accomplishment in the Community Music School’s Suzuki String Program.

Click here to watch their performance.

The Piano Guys became an Internet sensation by way of their immensely successful series of strikingly original self-made music videos and their highly original blend of classical music with pop. Beethoven’s 5 Secrets is a mash-up which brings together the song Secrets by the popular band One Republic with excerpts from all four movements of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony.

CMS director Carol Commerford was contacted by Fox Theatre staff seeking eight middle-high school-aged violin students to play with The Piano Guys. The students had to be able to play with very good intonation, from memory and perform with strong stage presence.

“I thought of violins from the Suzuki Ensemble from the beginning,” said Commerford. “They are well-trained and have a wonderful director, Joanne Keefe, to prepare them for the performance.”

Extra rehearsals were utilized to learn the music and practice their stage presence. When it came time for the big day, one Suzuki Ensemble student exclaimed that, “Ms. Keefe was so jazzed and silly – it helped us to relax and not be nervous and to have fun and to SMILE!” In additional to their moment in the spotlight, the students had the opportunity to witness backstage happenings and meet, practice, and take photos with The Piano Guys.

The Suzuki Ensemble has performed in Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, and Wisconsin, and in 2006 toured and performed in Europe.

The Suzuki Ensemble, pictured on the grand stairway of the Fabulous Fox Theatre, has performed in Missouri, Illinois, Ohio and Wisconsin, and in 2006 toured and performed in Europe.

In additional to their moment in the spotlight, the students had the opportunity to witness backstage happenings and meet, practice, and take photos with The Piano Guys. The students were warmly welcomed by the Fox Theatre with a special mention on the Fox Theatre’s marquee. The Fox Theatre’s staff were very pleased with the student’s performance, remarking that “the students did an amazing job!”

It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for these students to play to a sold out crowd in the 4,500-seat Fox Theatre. “It was an amazing experience! It was nerve-wracking and terrifying but during the performance it was so thrilling! I realize I love being on stage. It also made me realize that playing violin can be more fun than I ever thought,” said Carton.

Upcoming engagements for the Suzuki Ensemble include a special holiday program at Bethesda Orchard’s Senior Living Retirement Community, a performance on Feb. 15, 2 p.m., at the Kirkwood Public Library, and their final Spring Concert on April 26, 2 p.m., at the CMS Center.

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Category: St. Louis Campus News, Student Affairs and News, The Arts

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