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Our Director

Vera McCoy-Sulentic (violin) Vera McCoy-Sulentic (violin) is Director of the Suzuki Program at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. . She has been a registered teacher trainer for the Suzuki Association of the Americas since 1991 and conducts long term Suzuki teacher training at SIUE. A frequent clinician at Suzuki workshops, she has traveled throughout the United States and Canada, and has taught in Bermuda, Sweden, Taiwan, and Brazil. She was the recipient of SIUE's Excellence in Teaching award in 1996 and has been a faculty member and director of the SIUE Suzuki Program since 1997. Additionally, she has ten years of string teaching experience in the public schools of Edwardsville, Illinois and Eugene, Oregon.

In 1988, Vera earned a Masters in Music Education from SIUE which included long term teacher training with John Kendall. Other Suzuki training has been with Mihoko Hirata, Yuko Mori, Evelyn Hermann, and Doris Pruecil. Academic degrees include a B. M in Music Education from the University of Oregon and a B. A. in French from the University of Iowa.

Faculty Teachers

Carrie Grace Beisler (violin) grew up as a "Suzuki kid" in Minneapolis, Minnesota, studying with Nancy Lokken at Augsburg College and graduating from the University of Iowa with a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance in 2011. At the U of Iowa, she studied with Dr. Scott Conklin, played in the University of Iowa Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, and Baroque Ensemble. Other performing experience includes the Quad Cities Symphony, Southeast Iowa Symphony, Ottumwa Symphony, Oskaloosa Symphony Orchestra, Cedar Rapids Theater Pit Orchestra, and Lyric Arts Main Street Stage Pit Orchestra.

In May 2013, Carrie graduated with her Master's Degree in Violin Performance and Suzuki Pedagogy from the University of Minnesota, studying under Professor Mark Bjork. In addition to her long term training at the University of Minnesota, she has taken additional Suzuki training in Books 1-8 with Carol Dallinger, Alice Joy Lewis, Nancy Jackson, and Christie Felsing.

Carrie has gained extensive experience in arts administration during her internships with the Minnesota Youth Symphonies and the Colorado Suzuki Institute in Beaver Creek, CO. Her most recent teaching appointment was with the faculty of St. Joseph's School of Music in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Linda Bristol (violin and viola) earned her BME from Lindenwood College and her MME from SIUE. She also is a pianist. In 2012, she retired from teaching orchestra in the Edwardsville School District after 16 years of teaching at the middle school and elementary levels. Before teaching in Edwardsville, Linda taught in Parkway, Hazelwood and several private schools in the area. She studied Suzuki pedagogy with John Kendall and Carol Smith. Linda has been a faculty teacher in the SIUE Suzuki Program since 2002. Linda's three children all went through the Suzuki Program at SIUE. Her daughter, Heather, is a Suzuki teacher in Missoula, Montana.

Allison Huebner-Woerner (violin and viola) earned her BSEd in Music Education from the University of Missouri at Columbia and her MM in violin performance from SIUE. She did doctoral studies at the University of Missouri at Columbia, where she was John McLeod's doctoral assistant. She did long-term Suzuki teacher training with John Kendall and Carol Smith and has been a faculty member of the SIUE Suzuki program since 1994. She is Founder and Director of St. Charles Suzuki Strings, now called Ballwin Strings. She has played in numerous St. Louis-area orchestras and string quartets, including the St. Louis Philharmonic and the Florissant Valley Orchestra, for which she served as concertmaster and soloist. Allison is the esteemed and hard-working director of our Tour Group!

Stephanie Hunt (cello) is a versatile musician, performing on both modern and baroque cello. She plays frequently as a continuo cellist and was the continuo cellist for the Tanglewood Music Center's Bach Festival. Stephanie is a member of Trio Lumea, a piano trio that performs on historical instruments. Trio Lumea has performed throughout the Netherlands and was recently invited to perform at the Royaumont Abbey in France.

Stephanie has attended a number of music festivals, some of which include Festivalensemble Stuttgart, the Meadowmount School, the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme, and two summers as a Tanglewood Music Center Fellow. She graduated with a Bachelor of Music in modern cello summa cum laude from the University of Miami's Frost School of Music and received a Master of Music in modern cello from Rice University's Shepherd School of Music. She graduated with both a Bachelor of Music honours and a Master of Music in baroque cello from the Utrecht Conservatory (Netherlands). Her teachers include Viola de Hoog, Norman Fischer, Hans Jørgen Jensen, Ross Harbaugh, and Monique Bartels. After living five years in the Netherlands, Stephanie returned to the States and is teaching cello privately in St. Louis and through the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Suzuki program.

Erika Lord-Castillo (violin, viola) grew up in Iowa City, Iowa, and earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Literature, Sciences and Arts from the University of Iowa in 2005. She holds a Master's in Music Education from SIUE, and studied Suzuki pedagogy with Vera McCoy-Sulentic. After graduating from Iowa, she lived in Corvallis, Oregon for two years, where she taught privately and in the Corvallis Public Schools through the Corvallis Youth Symphony's Elementary Strings Program. Erika also spent three years teaching elementary through high school orchestra in the Ferguson-Florissant School District in North St. Louis County. Erika has performed with numerous community orchestras in Iowa and in Oregon, and with the St. Louis Philharmonic Orchestra. Erika's violin teachers include Annette-Barbara Vogel, Katie Wolfe, and Lenora Anop. Erika presented her Masters Thesis at the American String Teachers Association national conference in March 2011, and has been published in the American Suzuki Journal. Erika has been a faculty teacher in the SIUE Suzuki program since 2009.

Vicki Lottes (violin, viola) grew up in a Cincinnati musical family with 12 children and she graduated from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (BME) and Indiana University (MM studying with Josef Gingold). For 32 years Vicki taught orchestra and string classes in Massachusetts and Missouri public schools, most recently 20 years with the Parkway School District (St. Louis County) at the high school. middle school. and elementary levels. She helped Parkway grow their Suzuki program for all third grade students in 18 schools. Vicki trained with John Kendall and Vera McCoy-Sulentic at SIUE. She is a member of the SAA and taught Suzuki violin and viola students at her home studio in West St. Louis County for 6 years. Vicki has taught private lessons at SIUE since 2007, and co-directed the SIUE Summer String Camp for eight years. Vicki is the mother of two boys who studied Suzuki violin and cello.

Graduate Students and Group Teachers