Whetstone Valley Strings Group Meets for Live Music Recital

Whetstone Valley Strings Group
Meets for Live Music Recital
Whetstone Valley Strings (WVS) celebrated the accomplishments of area violin and cello students on Sunday, May 17, with a small recital at the Valley Baptist Church in Milbank. Students of Elizabeth Schulte have been persevering with lessons for the past two months using either Zoom or FaceTime. Schulte said, “Our original recital date was canceled, based on the guideline of limiting public gatherings to less than 10 people. However, with churches opening up these past couple of weeks, I asked for feedback from families, and several of them were excited about a live recital. My studio is small, which is an advantage during COVID-19.”
There were seven families who were able to attend. Students who preferred to shelter at home were given the option to perform their piece on Flipgrid, which can be accessed on most digital devices. WVS students participating on Flipgrid were Cindy Moen and Anika and Rosa Olson.
  Students performed solos from Suzuki Books 1, 2 and 5. Joseph and Traci Tschetter shared their own arrangement of the hymn Speak, O Lord, with their sister, Megan, accompanying on piano. Nicholas and Veronica Fonder teamed up with Joe and Rachel Schulte to play Lord of the Dance, having never once practiced together in person. 
All students joined in two final orchestra numbers by Sioux Falls composers Dan and Heidi Goeller, including Viva La Twinkle, an arrangement based on the rhythm of Coldplay’s Viva la Vida. Schulte noted, “The students were absolutely amazing; you would never know they had not had a chance to rehearse together.” 
One of the moms afterward commented, “It just filled up my heart to hear this music!” 
Students were recognized for the following achievements so far in 2020: 
Twinkle Graduation, Jessica Wipf and Teaneashea Vogel
Half Book Review, Anika Olson, Joseph and Traci Tschetter
Book 1 Graduation Recital, Krista Gingerich and Jewel Waldner
Participation in Milbank’s solo/ensemble contest, Nicholas and Veronica Fonder, Caitlyn Frerichs, Anika and Rosa Olson, and Joe and Rachel Schulte
Selected to the 2020 South Dakota Middle School All-State Orchestra, Nicholas and Veronica Fonder and Joseph and Rachel Schulte Mrs. Schulte noted that technology does not take the place of live lessons. “We have had struggles tuning, diagnosing bowing and left-hand technique issues, being disconnected mid-lesson, and trying to read music and assignments on a screen,” Schulte explained. “With the sound delay, communication takes longer; I have allowed 45 minutes for a typical 30-minute lesson to accommodate all the extra challenges.” 
Schulte believes the extra effort, along with the perseverance of the students and their parents, paid off. “I am so thankful we were able to share our music together and look forward to someday being able to invite the community to hear the progress of our Whetstone Valley Strings studio,” Schulte concluded.