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  Martha 12.21.2010

Some of our favorite photos of the Suzuki School founder, Martha Holvik

News from our alumni:

Here are some of our former students and faculty. We encourage former UNI Suzuki School students and faculty to submit information about where they are and what they are doing. 

You can send info and jpg photos to

Tara Lynn Ramsey

Tara Lynn Ramsey recently moved to Chicago with her husband, pianist Andrew Rosenblum, where she’ll be playing with the Civic Orchestra and teaching violin and viola at Triton College.  She completed her master's degree in violin performance at the Cleveland Institute of Music in 2013, after which she was a member of the Suzuki faculty at the Cleveland Music Settlement and performed throughout the northeast US with various new music ensembles. (received July, 2015)

RECENT ALUMNI- Their areas of interest after graduation follows their names.

Class of 2015 graduates—

•Charlotte Brandenburg--engineering

•Taylor Odekirk--journalism, mass communications

•Kelly Olsen--journalism, secondary English

•Rachel Pakala--psychology, Spanish, music


Class of 2014 graduates

•Hanna Gibson--UNI

•Sammie Kruger--music

•Megan Tomson--UNI


Class of 2013 graduates

•Hanno Fenech--political science and music

•Mackenzie Johnston--food science

•Lydia Pakala--music

•Clarissa Sutton--writing

•Katie Yang--biomedical engineering


Class of 2012 graduates

•Ian Abbott--computer engineering and music:saxophone

•Andrea' Anderson--art

•Gwen Farber--psychology major, music minor

•Erik Olsen--mechanical engineering

•Sigrid Walter--biology

•Christopher Walton--general studies


Class of 2011 graduates

•Jyothi Dhanwada--international studies and biology with a minor in French

•Joni Griffith--vocal performance with a minor in design or theatre

•Betrenna Jacobs--

•Hannah Howland--violin performance

•Dan Harter--engineering

•Emily Hurban--food service major

•Raquel Williams--music, theatre, literature, French, physical therapy

ALUMNI Entries:

  Tara Payne

Tara Payne joined the UNI Suzuki School faculty in 2004 and left after the spring semester in 2011.  Tara is a native of Cedar Falls, and was a student in the UNI Suzuki School, where she performed with the Northern Iowa Youth Orchestra and "Fiddlesticks."  She was a violin student of Therese Fetter.  Tara received a bachelor's degree in Christian Education with a music emphasis from Embassy University and has studied Suzuki teaching at the Western Spring School of Talent Education, Chicago, Toronto and Stevens Point Suzuki Institutes with Ed Kreitman, Nancy Jackson, Joanne Melvin, Karen Kimmett and Alice Joy Lewis.  Tara has also pursued studies in linguistics, and enjoys cooking, biking traveling world-wide. 

Saylar family

Former Violin Faculty Saylar Craig (son of Cathy) now resides in Singapore with his wife Tracy (trumpet), daughter Kalia (cello), and son Harrison (violin).  But at one time, he was an eager young pre-Twinkle violinist in the UNI Suzuki School like many reading this page.  Eventually, he earned math education and music degrees while teaching violin and viola at the UNI Suzuki School, playing violin in the WCFSO, and electric violin in rock bands.  Now, he and wife Tracy are teaching for the Singapore American School; Tracy teaches middle school band and Saylar teaches high school math.  Previously they were located in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia where they taught at the school for Aramco.  There they both enjoyed playing in the Bahrain Concert Sinfonia as well as other community musical opportunities in their area.  During some of their annual stateside visits, the entire family attended a summer Suzuki institute and resumed lessons with UNI Suzuki faculty. They are pictured here wearing their Suzuki Institute shirts and playing each other's instruments.

  Jennifer Wagaman; former Flute Faculty


Jennifer Wagaman received her Master of Music degree at the University of Northern Iowa in flute music performance. She completed her BA at Luther College, majoring in flute performance and music management.  Jennifer teaches flute at the Preucil School of Music in Iowa City and for the Cedar Rapids Symphony School. She directs a Flute Camp yearly in August for interested flute students, including beginners through intermediate. Jennifer taught for the UNI Suzuki School until summer, 2012.

Former violin faculty & student-Cara Keidel Schmidt

Cara Keidel Schmidt, a Cedar Falls native, began playing the violin with the UNI Suzuki School at the age of 3. She played in both NIJO and NIYO and was also a member of the advanced violin group Fiddlesticks. At the University of Northern Iowa, she studied with Frederick Halgedahl. Cara has taught with the Suzuki program 2008-2012 and continues to further her Suzuki education by attending Suzuki Teacher Training institutes every summer. She has taken Teacher Training courses with Ed Kreitman and Ed Springer. She is also a member of the Waterloo Cedar Falls Symphony and enjoys playing for weddings and other events with her string quartet. Her other hobbies include cooking, baking, cross-stitching, yard work/gardening, and spending time with her son Joshua.

UNI Suzuki School celebrates 35 years!

If you missed our events during our 35th anniversary year, here are the highlights.  A lovely luncheon, a tour of the newly renovated Russell Hall and a play-in were attended by a number of current & former teachers, parents and students in December, 2010.  A great time was had by all.  Several alumni joined us for the spring concert in the May. 

•special guests:  Martha Holvik, William and Doris Preucil and Karen Holvik 

•parents: Patty Achey-Cutts, Bruce & Marcie Baillie, Margit Coltvet, Mary Grey, Stephany Harvey, Carolyn Hildebrandt, Kent & Paula Hansen, Sue Jacobs, Pam Johnson, Bobbi Kazenelson, Tom & Diane Manifold, Tom & Helena Mullen, Gerald & Vivian Ramsey, and Donna Schmeidel

•former teachers: Stephen Baillie, Margit Coltvet, Mia Craig, Saylar Craig, Mary Grey, Pam Johnson, Tanya Payne, Jackie Venter Ridder, Kathleen Sihler

•former students:  '90-Beth Behn, '91 Saylar Craig, '94 Tosha Payne, '96 Tanya Payne, '97 Stephen Baillie, '98 Mia Craig, Sarah Hansen, Tara Payne; '00 Emily Hansen, '03 Amy Schmeidel, '05 Sara Harken, Tara Lynn Ramsey; '06 Robert Espe, Michaela Gansen, Caitlyn Hurban, Carrie Manifold, Bryn Sumner; '07 Molly Arns, Katie Brandt, Sarah Pakala; '08 Jordan Bancroft Smithe, Sarah Larsen; '09 Jennifer Hurban, Heidi Klett, Nori Payne; and Jacob Kazenelson, Linnea Sumner, Steve Ramsey.