August Teacher Spotlight: Dr. Robert Gillespie

This month we're going to focus on the amazing and accomplished violinist/ professor, Dr. Robert Gillespie. You probably know Gillespie from being Chair of Music Education at Ohio State University or recognize him from being co-author of the Hal Leonard string method book series, Essential Elements for Strings. Gillespie has truly dedicated his life to the wonderful world of strings, and working with him is always an honor. If you'd like to learn more about him, continue to read his biography below and our exclusive interview with him!

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Courtney Kappa
April Teacher Spotlight: Dr. Durbin

Dr. Timothy (Terry) Durbin is currently the director of the Suzuki String Program at the University of Louisville. He holds a DMA in orchestral conducting from Claremont Graduate University in Los Angeles, California, a Masters in violin performance from the University of Illinois, and an undergraduate degree in violin performance from the University of Alabama. He is also a registered teacher trainer with the Suzuki Association of the Americas.

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Courtney Kappa
March Teacher Spotlight: The Jenison Dream Team

The Jenison Orchestras have been recognized as one of the premier orchestra programs in the state of Michigan. All of Jenison Junior High and High School Orchestras have consistently received first division ratings at District and State Festivals and Solo and Ensemble competitions. The orchestras have been featured multiple times at the Michigan Music Conference and have performed with the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra, Moxie Strings, and Randy Sabien.

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Courtney Kappa
February Teacher Spotlight: Jason Powell

This month we are spreading our wings to California. We will be featuring Jason Powell. Jason earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education in classical guitar with a minor in percussion from the University of Redlands in 2007, his Master's Degree from Boston University in Music Education in 2011, and his Doctorate in Educational Justice and Leadership from the University of Redlands in 2015. In addition to all of these studies, Jason has also completed graduate course work at Florida State, Ohio State, Harmony College, and Chapman University, as well as, specialty studies in string pedagogy, Kodaly Methods, and the California credentialing to teach Music A.P. Theory.

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Courtney Kappa
Instrument Profile: English Style Double Bass

Domenico Dragonetti (1763-1846) from Venice, Italy was a renowned double bassist of his time. His talents eventually led him to becoming the owner of a Gasparo da Salò double bass. He was in Vicenza for a performance when he spotted the Gasparo, which was then owned by the nuns of ‘La Pietà.’ After some discussion they decided Dragonetti would be the new owner of the unique instrument. This was a privilege; Gasparo da Salò (c.1542-1609) was one of the earliest and greatest Brescian instrument makers during the 16th century and owning one of his instruments was rare. The Gasparo double bass, “was startlingly different – an elegant violin-cornered outline, lean Brescian arching, very deep ribs and distinctive f-holes” (The Strad, December 2017, p. 61).

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Courtney Kappa
January 2018 Teacher Spotlight: Kathy Anderson

To start off the new year we are featuring Kathy Anderson! She is the Strings Director at Highlands Middle and High School located in Ft. Thomas, KY. Kathy grew up in Philadelphia, PA. She is married and has 5 children and 2 extra special daughters- her best friend's daughters after she passed away. Along with taking care of a full house she is an excellent and well respected teacher and musician.

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Courtney Kappa
December Teacher Spotlight: Gretchen & Ed Zunic

This month we are highlighting Gretchen and Ed Zunic, they are both orchestra teachers for the Upper Arlington School District. Gretchen and Ed both have an extensive history with teaching and playing. These two are great at what they do and Upper Arlington is lucky to have them!

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Courtney Kappa
November Teacher Spotlight: Ellen Stephens

For the November Teacher Spotlight, we are featuring Ellen Stephens. Ellen is originally from Nashville, TN, but moved to Cincinnati, OH in 1998 so she could attend the University of Cincinnati- College Conservatory of Music (CCM) for graduate school as a cello performance major. Following graduation, Ellen was offered a teaching position. Since then, she has discovered a love and passion for teaching and helping students grow. She is currently the orchestra director at Northern Kentucky School of Music of Immanuel. She looks forward to their tours and competitions every year, probably because they perform at such a high level and are recognized with many awards every year! Along with all of that, she has performed at the Luca Italy Opera Theatre for two summers and is currently a member of the Southbank Quartet. Ellen has an impressive musical history and we can't wait to see what her future holds as a teacher and performer.

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Courtney Kappa
China Trip 2017

October was a busy month for the team at BVS. A few of our team members traveled to China for two weeks to meet with our current workshops and attend the world's largest music trade show. The reason we get our instruments from China makes us very unique. Instead of ordering instruments from large manufacturers, we partner with makers in China and work together to design and create the best instruments for our shop. This helps us sell the highest quality product at a more reasonable price. Plus, you won't be able to find our instruments anywhere else.

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Courtney Kappa
October Teacher Spotlight: Anna Ballmer

This month we are focusing on Anna Ballmer. Anna graduated from Bowling Green State University as a K-12 Music Education major with a specialty in strings. Her primary instrument is the viola, and she has been teaching private violin and viola lessons for 15 years. She started her music career in Chalkida, Greece, where she taught at a music conservatory. Since then, she has started an orchestra program from scratch in 2015 and currently teaches applied violin lessons at Lorain County Community College. She also teaches beginning violin classes in collaboration with Northern Ohio Youth Orchestra at Oberlin Center for the arts; Lorain Arts Academy. And if all of that isn't impressive enough, Anna owns an arts administrative business, where the primary objective is coordinating and managing a city sponsored outdoor concert series in Perrysburg, OH and she will have an article published in OMEA's triad online magazine. Keep reading if you want to read my interview with Anna!

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Stephen Heck
We're Back From China

My three sons and I just got back from our annual trip to China, and despite some serious jetlag, I am so excited about what we accomplished. We go for several reasons.  The first half of the trip, we visit our existing workshops (most of them are in Beijing) to make adjustments to our existing product lines, and make sure that they are meeting our standards.  We also work with them to develop new instruments, and hand pick completed instruments to add to our inventory.  The second half of our tip is spent in Shanghai, where we attend the world’s largest music tradeshow.  It’s a unique opportunity for us to find new makers to partner with.  We have found so many fabulous instruments and makers there over the past ten years.

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Stephen Heck