February 12, 2024

Discover the Talent at Arts+'s Suzuki Workshop

Back to News

Every year, Arts+ holds a Suzuki Workshop, a day where Carolina Suzuki Strings musicians and Suzuki students throughout the Charlotte area come together to learn, fiddle, grow, and jam. This year's workshop includes a collaboration with the Charlotte Folk Society and features seven guest clinicians. Learn more about them all below:

Charlotte Folk Society

Since their founding in 1982, the Charlotte Folk Society has introduced thousands of folks, both young and old, to the roots and branches of the many traditional folkways of the Carolina Piedmont: from dance to craft to storytelling and most especially the music. The heartbeat of the Charlotte Folk Society is the monthly public Gatherings held without fail for a remarkable, consistent 40 plus years of gathering together in the community to hear, share, play, and keep the music alive.

Over the decades, performers have included both legendary culture-bearers and talented, young musicians taking old traditions in new directions. Gathering concerts feature food trucks, fellowship, jamming, and a song circle: time for folks to get to know each other, learn and share, and build community.

Glen Alexander, Charlotte Folk Society

"Who is Glen Alexander? He just may be the most influential fiddler in North Carolina. Glen grew up in Pfafftown, a region of Winston-Salem dominated by Gospel and Bluegrass music. Growing up surrounded by a family of musicians, he thought it a practical question to ask his classmates, "What does your dad play?"

When he turned eleven, he started playing the fiddle and learned to play through the school orchestra. He had many local inspirations and taught himself to improvise by sitting in with his father's band, Muddy Creek. When he was fourteen, he snuck away from home to play his first competition in Yadkinville, where he won his first ribbon, 2nd place. A year after, he won his first Blue ribbon at Mt. Airy and competed and won almost everywhere he entered. In 1998 he won Galax, the most coveted prize for a fiddler on the East Coast. Now he has four Galax Blue ribbons. You can also see his name on over 300 CDs he's recorded fiddle on, and he has shared the stage with many of today's top bluegrass artists."

Heather Atha Conine

Heather Conine (née Atha) studied violin performance at the University of South Florida where she studied with John T. Posadas and Carolyn Stuart. She continued her studies at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts where she received a Master of Music in Violin Performance. She has completed the Suzuki courses 1-10, supplementary courses for developing the bow arm & advancing technique, as well as Music Mind Games Unit 1.

​She is a registered Suzuki Association member, and opened her studio, Queen City Suzuki Violin, Fall 2017. She has been teaching Suzuki violin to children ages 3 and above for almost a decade. Heather finds joy in the open genius of the mind of the young child, and is passionate about teaching the soul of music to everyone who is willing to join her in the pursuit of music making.

Sarah Jackson Evanovich

Sarah Jackson Evanovich is the Director of the Suzuki Academy of Columbia in Columbia, South Carolina. Sarah holds a Master of Music degree from Roosevelt University where she studied performance and pedagogy with Dr. Tanya Carey, and a Bachelor of Music in performance from the University of South Carolina, where she studied with Dr. Robert Jesselson. Mrs. Evanovich has registered Suzuki teacher training through the Suzuki Association of the Americas for all ten book levels.

Sarah's prior teaching positions include the Hyde Park Suzuki Institute and the MAGIC program in Chicago, as well as the USC String Project in Columbia. She was the first music instructor at the former Midlands Arts Conservatory, which was a new public charter middle/high school with a focus on the arts. She is a former president of the Suzuki Association of South Carolina, and previously served on the board as treasurer and vice president.

In addition to teaching, Sarah enjoys performing with the string quartet that she formed with her three sisters and also with her husband, pianist/organist Joshua Evanovich. She was an associate member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and played in the Kankakee Valley Symphony Orchestra, the South Carolina Philharmonic, and the Aiken Symphony. In 2009, her quartet from Roosevelt University traveled to Quito, Ecuador to take part in the Mes Cultural Franz Liszt. Sarah has participated in summer festivals including the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival, Killington Music Festival, Hot Springs Music Festival in Arkansas and the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts.

Casey Mink

Casey Mink enjoys balancing his love for violin playing and teaching. He performs with the Roanoke Symphony, the Rock Hill Symphony and the Nexus Jazz Ensemble. Casey plays on a Robert Brode violin and a bow by Claude Thomassin.

He taught violin and viola to students of all ages with the Renaissance Music Academy of Virginia and Virginia Tech’s Fine Arts Initiative before founding Mink Violin Music Studio in Rock Hill, SC. Casey holds a bachelor’s degree in music performance from the University of North Florida and master’s degree in music performance from Bowling Green State University. A registered teacher with the Suzuki Association of the Americas in violin units 1-10, he is trained to work with young beginners to advanced violinists. He is the treasurer of the Suzuki Association of South Carolina, and his articles have been featured in The American Suzuki Journal.

Gabriela Potter Peoples

Gabriela Potter is a professional violinist, violist, and registered Suzuki violin instructor residing in North Carolina. Ms. Potter is registered for Violin Books 1-10 with the Suzuki Association of the Americas and has completed intensive long-term teacher training with renowned Suzuki Pedagogue Joanne Bath. She completed Suzuki Early Childhood Education Unit 1 teacher training with Danette Schuh, Music Mind Games Unit 1 teacher certification with Kristen Tourville, and Revisiting Suzuki Violin Book 1 teacher training with James Hutchins.

At the age of ten, Gabriela began studying the violin with Sandra Hunt in her home town of Chesapeake, Virginia. She continued her studies with Dora Marshall Mullins of Virginia Beach and was accepted into the prestigious Governor’s School for the Arts in Norfolk, which she attended for her four years of high school. As a member of the Virginia Beach Chamber Orchestra and the Bay Youth Orchestras of Virginia, she maintained an active performance schedule throughout southeastern Virginia.

Gabriela received her Bachelor of Music degree in Performance, Magna Cum Laude, from East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, where she studied violin and viola with Jorge Richter and Ara Gregorian. During this time, she received chamber music coachings from Hye-Jin Kim, Emanuel Gruber, and Melissa Reardon, and completed her Suzuki Pedagogy studies with Joanne Bath. She has performed onstage with guest artists such as Michael Kannon, Maria Lambros, Keiko Sekino, Bonnie Thron, Kristopher Tong, and Xiao-Dong Wang. She has been selected to attend the Eastern Music Festival on scholarship, and has participated in the Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival’s Next Generation and the Next Gen on the Road concert tours. She has performed with the Durham Symphony Orchestra, Raleigh Symphony Orchestra, Long Bay Symphony Orchestra (Myrtle Beach, SC), Tar River Symphony Orchestra (Rocky Mount), Civic Theater Pit Orchestra (New Bern), City Ballet Orchestra (Wilmington), Beaufort County Orchestra (Washington), Pitt Community College Orchestra (Greenville), ECU Summer Chamber Music Institute Faculty ensemble (Greenville), Greenville Civic Ballet Orchestra, Greenville Choral Society Orchestra, and the East Carolina University Symphony Orchestra.

Ms. Potter has taught Suzuki outreach programs at public schools in Pitt, Beaufort, and Durham counties, and has helped coach the Eastern Youth Symphony Orchestra and the NC Suzuki Institute student orchestras. She has taught at the Wright School of Music, Third Street Academy, Bath Elementary School, Greene County Intermediate School, Arendell Parrott Academy, ECU Summer Chamber Music Institute, North Carolina Suzuki Institute, and the Meredith College Community School of Music. In 2017, she was awarded the Schubert Fellowship at the West Side String School in Greenville, where she maintained a private studio for two years.

Ms. Potter attended the 2014 Suzuki Association of the Americas’ Conference in Minneapolis, and has worked as a Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival Associate and an Administrative Support Associate in the College of Fine Arts and Communication at East Carolina University. She currently holds the position of Secretary of the North Carolina Suzuki Association, and was an active member of the Eastern North Carolina Suzuki Association from 2012-2019.

Gabriela enjoys tending to her garden at her home in Durham, camping with her husband and friends in state parks and forests, attending workouts at Burn Boot Camp, and teaching her students ages 3-70 at the High Strung School of Music near Duke’s East Campus.

Delaine Fedson Leonard

Delaine Fedson Leonard is a versatile performer and vibrant educator in Austin, TX. Her passion is empowering young performers and teachers to find their artistic voices. Experienced in the world of opera, orchestra and traditional harp chamber music pairings, she has begun exploring unusual collaborations for the harp. In 2014, Tuba Euphonium Press published her collaborative edition of “Salve Maria” for harp and euphonium (with Eileen Meyer Russell). Today, her energy is focused on the American Harp Quartet and transcriptions of opera arias in collaboration with mezzo soprano Kathryn Findlen.

For many years, Fedson Leonard worked to raise public awareness of the harp through service to the American Harp Society, Inc. She served multiple terms as national President, Secretary to the Board, and on the Board of Directors. Today, she is the Education Group Coordinator and a member of the Nominating, Grants and Education Committees.

Fedson Leonard teaches at the University of Texas Butler School of Music, the Sarofim School of Fine Arts at Southwestern University, and the Stone Gate Suzuki Studio where she welcomes students of all ages and abilities. Among her many credentials are starting the first Suzuki Harp studio in Texas in 1986 and earning Suzuki Teacher Trainer status in 2004. It is Fedson Leonard’s passion to be a part of any student’s, or teacher’s, journey in sharing the harp, and its music, with the world.

Cathey Franklin

Cathey Franklin is a 4th generation Charlottean who has resided in Charlotte all her life. She has always had a passion for rhythm and music and regards clogging as "foot percussion." One can learn some basic clogging steps and moves and come up with numerous possibilities for steps combos, states Cathey.

Cathey has clogged with a number of teams throughout the years and has had her own group, Carolina Classic Cloggers, which is the only remaining clog team in Charlotte and vicinity, going for 30 years. She has taught clogging in the area for about 30 years as well, both privately and for various groups. She takes great pleasure in seeing what a student can learn in just one lesson, where they learn body positioning and several beginner steps. Students do not need a partner to learn the basics of clogging or to participate in clogging line dances. Cathey looks forward to working with Carolina Suzuki Strings, and is proud to be a part of the effort to keep this delightful dance alive.

Arts+ is excited to work with these incredible talents on Saturday, Feb. 24. Register for the workshop today.

This workshop is supported, in part, by the Infusion Fund and its generous donors.