Beautiful Tone, Beautiful Heart
In 1974, the Suzuki approach was introduced to the Rapid City area. Interest grew quickly and in 1980, the Black Hills Suzuki School was formed. Today our program numbers over 110 students with eight teachers on the staff: Liz Benusis, Carol Knowles, Deb Knowles, Elizabeth Knowles, Charlie Savot, Meghan Knowles, Martha Robinson and Amanda Swartz.
Our Suzuki students have performed at state MENC conventions in South Dakota and Nebraska, led seminars at Black Hills State University, the University of Wyoming, the University of Minnesota, the University of Northern Colorado and Montana State University and appeared as featured guest soloists with the Black Hills Symphony and the Black Hills Chamber Society. In 1999 the Suzuki School celebrated the 25th anniversary of the introduction of the Suzuki method in Rapid City by participating in Disney's Magic Music Days at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. In 2003, the Suzuki School performed in the Washington Pavilion in Sioux Falls, SD alongside the South Dakota Honors Orchestra, the twenty-two member premier South Dakota High School string orchestra, many of whom were also Suzuki School students.
The Black Hills Suzuki School performs extensively in the community, with six or more concerts and solo recitals each year. Suzuki School groups have also performed outreach concerts in venues such as Storybook Island and Main Street Square. We are proud of the fact that many past winners of the Black Hills Symphony Young Artist Competition have been Suzuki School students.
The Black Hills Suzuki School prides itself on giving its students multiple solo, ensemble and group performance opportunities throughout the year. At our annual Fall Workshop, guest faculty from around the country are flown in to work with our students. This intensive weekend allows our students to work with the "rock stars" of the Suzuki world.