Violinist’s new history for Suzuki students published

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Dipping into the parlance of yore, Hadley Johnson’s dance card is full, professionally and musically.

The former Walla Wallan, who learned to play violin by the Suzuki method, just had her 146-page book, “From Suzuki to Mozart, A History of the Repertoire in Suzuki Violin Books 1-10,” published.

It runs $14.99 and is available online at bit.ly/WK5mLt, Createspace and Amazon.com .

According to information online, Shinichi Suzuki’s philosophy is behind the Suzuki method, which has fostered violinists for decades.

Hadley’s book will complement well-rounded young artists through her history of the composers and pieces that bring the Suzuki repertoire alive.

Hadley reveals which composer was almost buried alive, why Johann Sebastian Bach was sent to jail and which composer’s father stole so much money from his son’s employer that both were sent into exile.

Her work on the book began five years ago as part of an independent music history class that she designed in order to graduate in time,she said.

She wanted to create something that would complement her work as a Suzuki teacher.

She was influenced by reading a history of 20th century music, “The Rest is Noise,” by Alex Ross, which included an anecdote about Dvorak’s famous “Humoresque,” a piece in Suzuki Book 3.

“In particular, it explained that it was inspired by (and was perhaps a plagiarized version of) the African American composer Maurice Arnold Strothotte’s “African Plantation Dances,” she said.

A Bohemia native, Dvorak lived briefly in the United States and was fascinated by grassroots music, especially from the African and Native American population.

In Dvorak’s time (“Humoresque” was published in 1894) the study of ethnic music was almost unheard of, Hadley said.

“This insight into a piece that I had played, probably thousands of times, revolutionized the way I thought about and taught it.”

That’s when she began looking into the background of other pieces in Suzuki literature.

Her professor sought a 25-page paper. She buried herself in the Western Washington University library during an entire summer, eight hours a day, prowling its Music Library for the origins of the 65 pieces in Suzuki Books 1-10.

“By the time autumn rolled around I was nowhere near finished with the project in its entirety, but the paper was already four times longer than its original requirement.

“My professor told me that I was done with the class (I think that he had realized that I had created a monster), but I kept on researching and writing.”

She finished the first draft two years ago, aiming to publish it as a resource for other teachers. After a two-year process, she was approved in August for a license through the Suzuki International Association.

At 8, Hadley studied with Kathleen Spring, who formed the Walla Walla Valley Suzuki violin school. Kathleen has since moved on to a teaching post at the University of Denver Lamont School of Music, Hadley said.

Hadley is the daughter of the musically inclined Dr. Jim and Susan Johnson of Walla Walla who sing with Walla Walla Choral Society.

Hadley graduated in 1995 from Walla Walla High School. While an English and medieval studies major at St. Olaf College she discovered she loved teaching violin.

She focused her energy on learning to work with children and honing her playing abilities. In addition, she studied on a Fulbright in Berlin for a year.

For the past 10 years, she’s primarily taught private violin lessons. She worked briefly as a Montessori tutor and taught the strings program at Brightwater Waldorf School from 2003-5.

From 2006-8 she completed a postbaccalaureate degree in violin performance, studying with Grant Donnellan at WWU. She kept a small studio in Seattle while completing the program.

In September 2008 she returned to the city and again taught full time. Her students have taken part in Suzuki Institutes, successfully passed graduation levels I-IV, chamber music camps and Chamber Music Madness.

Since they’re key players, Hadley prepares parents for the program, too. “Lessons start with one month of parent education followed by one month of parent/student sessions. Through these initial months parents are expected to learn about the Suzuki method and how to help out their children at home,” Hadley notes on her website.

Students can take private lessons weekly, group lessons once a month and have the option to participate in quarterly recitals. She requires daily practice and parents must attend all lessons.

“Beginning students are expected to have at least half an hour per day to devote to their violin studies and up to an hour each day as they progress.”

She’s so busy her Greenwood-area studio is full, according to her website, bit.ly/UGp5xP . If there’s an opening, “I prioritize families who have observed several lessons and show significant interest.”

For the past three years she’s chaired the Suzuki Association of Washington State Festival in Ellensburg and has been vice president of the board. Her Suzuki teacher training includes Books 1-8 and the practicum course.

Occasionally the newspaper receives copies of books fresh off the press and ready for a look-see, often before they’re released to the general reading populace. Here are a few that I’ve perused.

Writer Steve Wells may be from the Seattle area, but he’s all over the Walla Walla Valley when it comes to familiarity with the terroir-tory, from the area’s denizens and their haunts to the wine industry.

I especially liked his novel title, designed as a wine label on the cover: “Killer Cuvée, Walla Walla Valley/A Powerful Blend of 35% Murder/35% Romance, 30% Winemaking,” from Overlake Media, www.thewinemakerseries.com

He’s written an involving, at times heart-pounding murder mystery wherein a Walla Walla winemaker finds himself being accused of the death of his former wife. She died at her London home after drinking poisoned wine shipped from his winery.

Under investigation by the FBI and warned not to leave the area by the local sheriff, Eric Savage jumps a jet to England to unravel a baffling situation that could put him in prison for years if he can’t show it wasn’t him who did the deed. True, he was still angry with his two-timing ex, years after they divorced, but kill her?

Through the story, the author’s insider’s knowledge of winemaking is overly present. The plot, which had a nice blend of romance, kept me hooked and I’m looking forward to seeing more from him. The copy did contain more than a few typos, however.

In his book, Walla Wallan Don R. Hayes, a retired major in the U.S. Air Force, has collected photos and remembrances from fellow air crewmen, pilots and other witnesses. He served as a B-17 Flying Fortress top turret gunner with the 97th Bomb Group at Amendola Air Base, Italy. In nine months, he flew 25 missions and five early returns.

Since then he’s been involved in the 97th Bomb Group Association and has been an editor of its newsletter for a quarter century.

“Splendor in the Skies/Echoes From the Past/The Flying Fortress — Queen of the Skies” is a great pictorial history of the air war against Germany during World War II.

To purchase, write Don at Splendor in the Skies, P.O. Box 3398, Walla Walla, WA 99362.

From University of Washington Press of Seattle and London comes, “Bartering With the Bones of Their Dead/The Colville Confederated Tribes and Termination” by Laurie Arnold.

It chronicles the story of the Colville people, who struggled for 20 years trying to decide if they should give up sovereign nation status.

The termination policy came out of the Eisenhower Administration. It was crafted to dissolve Indian identity and the federal-Indian relationship. Although most bands and tribes fought the policy, the CCT in north-central Washington went for termination. They imagined being free of federal supervision so they could see to their own affairs. Others wanted the promised monetary payout.

The author is director of Native American Initiatives at the University of Notre Dame and is an enrolled member of the Lakes Band of Colville Confederated Tribes. She draws her narrative from the stories of her elders as she grew up and from research. See bit.ly/VpN9S3 for more information.

The Washington State Heritage Center Legacy Project recently published a book by Trova Heffernan, “Where the Salmon Run/The Life and Legacy of Billy Frank Jr.” Oral history from Billy, a Nisqually tribe member who was involved in the heated struggle over tribal fishing rights.

“Roughed up, belittled and handcuffed on the banks of the Nisqually River, Billy Frank Jr. emerged as one of the most influential Indians in modern history.” He did it despite the abuse he suffered and his aim was to restore the environment and protect salmon.

Tom Keefe, a former legislative director for Sen. Warren Magnuson, said, “The conflicts over Indian treaty rights produced a true warrior/statesman in the person of Billy Frank Jr., who endured personal tragedies and setbacks that would have destroyed most of us.” Keefe recommends that every classroom in our state should have a copy of this book, another tome from UW Press.

Writer-director Kergan Edwards-Stout’s novel “Songs for the New Depression,” from Circumspect Press, won the 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Award in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer category.

Kergan spent years in the trenches working for the AIDS Project Los Angeles and lost his partner to the disease. “The style of the novel is contemplative, like the work of Michael Cunningham, mixed with the black humor of Agusten Burroughs,” according to the publisher. Find out more at www.kerganedwards-stout.com.

To worrywarts like me it’s a symphony to my ears that Walla Wallans Bill and Becky Musick and children Joey, Ray and Melody made it safely to New Zealand. Bill pointed out in a Dec. 1 blog that his parents, Pat and Hal, just flew 16 hours Down Under to greet their ocean-going family who covered the same distance over a leisurely 12-month span.

To get there, they departed the East Coast of the United States in December 2011 aboard Watermusick, their 49-foot Hallberg Rassey ketch, and sailed through the Bahamas and Panama Canal, south to the Galapagos Islands and west across vast expanses of ocean with idyllic layovers on small island chains en route.

“Mom had her birthday on the plane and I explained since she lost a day crossing the dateline she did not age last year (sounded like a good idea). They had a good flight and commented on the amount of water they crossed getting here,” Bill wrote.

The family planned to spend a few days sailing in the Bay of Islands then tour the North Island by car.

They had a beautiful passage to New Zealand, Bill noted, experiencing mostly mild conditions with fish, dolphins and swimming breaks.

Well, there was that one place, on Nov. 16, when there was no wind and 600 miles to go. “The sea has turned to glass. No moon — the stars and bioluminescence light up the water. I have not learned all the stars of the S(outhern) hemisphere but my companion Orion still is burning brightly overhead. We are making about 130 miles a day; the wind should fill in and hope to arrive Opua, NZ by the middle of next week.”

“But one night left on passage and mother nature decided we had not had enough wind,” he added. They had to reef down the slender storm jib and tied down the third reef on the mainsail. Even then they made a swift 6 knots (6.9 mph) and held their course. The clan sailed into Opua Harbour on the northeast end of the North Island on Nov. 24.

“We had a great welcoming committee when the crew of Blessed or at least Lyndon, Zoe and Ben drove up from the middle of the country to meet us. They had bags of food to restock our supplies and helped us put on a proper Thanksgiving feast for a few friends in the marina.”

They spent three days on the dock meeting up with friends, relaxing and watching the 10-15 boats of kids “just have a ball.”

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at annieeveland@wwub.com or afternoons at 526-8313.

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