Academy Notes – March 2014

On this first day of spring, I invite you to attend our first round of spring concerts and events!

  • This Saturday, March 22nd, at 3:00 pm, will feature our Academy String Orchestra (ASTRO) and Lawrence Adult Music Programs (LAMP) Orchestra in a concert at the Chapel.  Tickets are $8 and are available online or at the Box Office on the day of the concert.   For youth interested in joining ASTRO, auditions take place on Sunday, April 27th.  Adults interested in joining, or learning more about, the LAMP Orchestra next fall should fill out an online interest form.
  • This Saturday, March 22nd, at 7:00 pm, we will feature our Academy Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble in a concert at the Chapel.  Tickets are $8 and are available online or at the Box Office on the day of the concert.   For those interested in joining Wind Ensemble, auditions are being scheduled right now; contact the office immediately if you don’t want to miss out!  Symphonic Band is open to students with one year or more of experience on a wind or percussion instrument; no audition is required.
  • Next Saturday, March 29th, at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm, our Girl Choirs will feature “A Sampler in Song,” featuring sets of music that are stitched together with ideas inspired by quilt blocks.  Please join us to hear seven choirs and see a variety of beautiful, hand-made quilts on display.  Tickets are $8 for students/seniors and $12/adults; they are available online or at the Box Office the day of the concert.  Girl choir auditions will take place in April; interested girls new to the program are encouraged to register for an audition as soon as possible.
  • Next Saturday, March 29th, at approximately 8:30 pm, we will draw the winning tickets for this year’s raffle!  The drawing will take place at the conclusion of the 7:00 pm girl choir concert and will be webcast live.  Listen for your name – perhaps you will be the winner of a $1,000 vacation voucher, $700 Academy of Music tuition credit, $250 Express gasoline card, or 2 tickets to see the Milwaukee Brewers!  If you haven’t purchased your ticket, contact the Academy office or purchase one from your favorite Academy student!  Each ticket is only $5.  We are grateful to Appleton Group Wealth Management, U.S. Venture, Inc., Burkhalter Travel, and the Milwaukee Brewers for sponsoring the raffle.
  • The Boldt Challenge, wherein donations of $100 or more will be matched, up to $5,000, is underway for one more week!  If you have not yet had the opportunity to make a donation to the Academy’s tutti! fund, which supports tuition assistance, teacher development, and program costs, please do so today.  The deadline for the Boldt Challenge is 4:00 pm Friday, March 28th.
  • If you are enrolled in private lessons, please be sure to double-check with your teacher in regard to his or her spring break schedule.  The Academy offices will have reduced hours the week of March 31st and will be closed all day on Wednesday, April 2nd.
  • If you are interested in what our alumni are up to, you have the opportunity to see a few of them in performance with the Luther College Symphony Orchestra this Saturday at 7 pm at Appleton North High School.  A freewill donation will be collected.

Enjoy this springtime concert season,
Karen Bruno, director
Lawrence Academy of Music

Academy Notes – January 2014

Happy New Year!  Things outside may be chilly, but the Academy is abuzz with activity:

  • This week is officially parent-student-teacher conference week for those enrolled in private lessons.  Please expect a ten-minute meeting with your teacher at the conclusion of the lesson.  Feel free to ask any questions or clarify any goals during this time.  Your teacher will provide you with a written mid-year evaluation and discuss plans for second semester.


  • Congratulations to those who prepared for this year’s honors auditions.  The honors recital, featuring ten soloists in grades 4-12, will take place on Sunday, January 26th at 2 pm in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel.  The recital is free and will last approximately 45 minutes.  Please join us to enjoy these outstanding performances!



  • If you come to the Academy building, please pay careful attention to the fire lane.  There is no stopping allowed at any time in the fire lane adjacent to the building.  Because the parking lot is already narrow, parking (or idling) in this location creates a traffic hazard and effectively blocks all movement in or out of the lot.  This issue is exacerbated during the snowy months, as we lose roughly two spaces in the back of our lot to snow piles.  Lawrence University has the authority to ticket anyone sitting in the car and idling in the fire lane.  Please be respectful of everyone who uses the Academy parking lot; come inside to wait for your child or park and walk your child into the building from the Academy lot or the lot on Rocky Blier Way.  Thank you for your assistance in this important safety and traffic matter.


  • Finally, a reminder about inclement weather: the Academy does not follow the closures of local schools.   If you participate in an ensemble, you will be notified via email if a rehearsal is cancelled.  If you are enrolled in private lessons, please contact your teacher to see if s/he is teaching (the decision not to teach is left up to individual studio teachers).  Unless Lawrence University itself closes, the Academy is open and office staff are present.  If you have any questions, please refer to our inclement weather policy.

Thank you for your ongoing support of the Lawrence Academy of Music!

Karen Bruno, director

Academy Notes

Dear Academy Family:

I hope you were able to take some time to rest and enjoy one another over Thanksgiving!  Suddenly, the calendar has turned to December, leading to lots of wonderful performance opportunities at the Academy.  Thank you, in advance, for reading the information below very carefully.

  • Thank you so much for your support of our online tutti! auction.  Between November 12 and 21, we sold more than $14,000 worth of merchandise!  If you were a donor, a sponsor, a winner, or helped with advertising in any way, we are most grateful.  All proceeds of the auction will support teacher development, tuition assistance, and Academy programs.  Please keep our generous business donors in mind as you do your holiday shopping.  Our “Buy Local” guide can be found here.
  • This is the year the Girl Choir program presents a Christmas concert.  Please join more than 300 girls in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel on Saturday, December 14th at 2 pm or 7 pm for the 2013 edition of “Yuletide Carols.”  Tickets can be purchased online.
  • Did you know we have an adult orchestra?  The LAMP (Lawrence Adult Music Programs) Orchestra will present its December concert in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel on Tuesday, December 17th at 7 pm.  Please enjoy this FREE concert…and perhaps consider joining the ensemble for second semester!
  • Several Academy string teachers will collaborate to present string group recitals on Sunday, December 15th in Harper Hall in the Lawrence Conservatory.  Please join us at 12:30, 1:45, or 3:00 for one of these free recitals.
  • Are you looking for stocking stuffers or Academy apparel?  We have Wilmar’s chocolate Santas and chocolate mints for sale in the Academy office.  We will also have a giant apparel sale (select in-stock merchandise only) in the Academy lobby beginning next week.
  • Did you miss out on the fall West African Drum and Dance class?  Fear not!  We are pleased to offer a second session (appropriate for returning students or new students in grades 5-9) beginning in January.  Please contact the office at 920-832-6632 for further information.
  • Please be sure to check with your studio teacher or ensemble handbook so that you know your lesson or rehearsal schedule for December and January.  Each studio teacher sets his or her own weeks of vacation.  Each ensemble has slightly different start dates in January.  If you have misplaced your handbook, please refer to the Academy website for further information.
  • Note that the Academy of Music is closed from December 22-29, 2013.  No lessons will be taught in the building during that time.  The offices will remain closed until January 2, 2014.

I leave you with words from Nelson Mandela:

“It is music and dancing that make me at peace with the world.”

May you and your family also find peace this holiday season.


Karen Bruno, director

Lawrence Academy of Music

Academy Notes 9-22-13

Dear Academy Family:

As the Academy’s programs begin, the vibrant energy in the building coincides with the soon-to-be-vibrant colors of the trees outside my window.  It’s a wonderful change from the slower pace of summer!  Below are a few important reminders as well as invitations to join us for several events.

  • Very soon, your teacher will have specific information regarding how your studio or ensemble is going to participate in the tutti! auction.  Please ask him or her for more information.
  • The Academy is proud to present its first online store!  T-shirts, sweatshirts, and fleece are available for two weeks, beginning today.  Click here to see the many size and color options! Orders are placed and paid online. Items will be delivered mid-late October to the Academy.
  • We are sponsoring several free concerts in the next two weeks.  Please join us for the following (each is approximately 1 hour in length):
    • Family Concert:  An Introduction to the Baroque with Flying Forms, guest artists – Saturday, September 28, 1 pm, Lawrence Memorial Chapel (cosponsored by Lawrence Baroque Ensemble)
    • Faculty Recital:  Anna Reiser, piano, and David Rubin, violin – Sunday, September 29, 1 pm, Harper Hall in the Lawrence Conservatory
    • Faculty Recital:  Barbara Beechey, viola and Michael Rivers, piano, with Kortney James, flute – Saturday, October 5, 2 pm, Harper Hall in the Lawrence Conservatory
  • Did you know that we are on social media?  Like” us on facebook to receive additional resources and time-sensitive updates (including weather-related issues for ensembles) or follow us on twitter: @LawrenceAcadMus .

On behalf of Academy teachers and staff,

Karen Bruno, director
Lawrence Academy of Music

Welcome Families!

Welcome to a new year of music-making at the Lawrence Academy of Music!

Registered families should have recently received information about our new online billing and payment system.  We are thrilled to offer this convenient service to Academy families.  All payments were due on August 20th but, as always, installment plans are available.  Please contact the Academy office at 920-832-6632 if you wish to take advantage of this option.

Please note that the online payment system does not charge the Academy any extra fees if you pay via Electronic Funds Transfer, but does charge the Academy credit card fees.  Consider using EFT so that our income can support Academy teachers and programs rather than credit card companies.  If you wish to print your statement and mail it with a check, you are welcome to do so.

Earlier this summer, families should have received a copy of our 2013-2014 catalog.  If you haven’t had a chance, please take some time to familiarize yourself with the broad scope of programs we offer.  Extra copies of the catalog are available at the Academy of Music.

This year, we are pleased to welcome the following teachers to the Academy of Music family:

  • Heather Urness, teacher of Early Childhood Music
  • Jaclyn Kottman, Girl Choir conductor and teacher of Voice
  • Allison Shinnick, Piano teaching intern

I know that that you will enjoy each of them.  Given their outstanding training and warm personalities, I know that they will make substantial contributions to our musical community.

For almost a decade, the Academy has hosted an annual fund-raising evening to raise money for our tutti! fund.  This fund provides program support, teacher benefits, and scholarship assistance.  This year, we will not have an evening event, but will present an online auction in November.  In order for the auction to be successful, we will need your help!  Please watch for information from studio or ensemble teachers in September.  Our annual tutti! raffle will be held from February through March.

Approximately every six to eight weeks, I send our Academy Notes e-newsletter to all registered families via e-mail.  These messages are short but full of information.  Thank you, in advance, for reading this message thoroughly.  If your e-mail address changes, please let us know by sending a message to:  with “e-list” in the subject line.  Please include your full name in the body of the message so we know who you are!

At the beginning of the year, all private lesson students will receive an Academy notebook.  The front pages of the notebook contain calendars, teacher contact information, and Academy guidelines.  Please refer to these guidelines if you have questions about our policies or procedures.  The body of the notebook contains pages for weekly assignments and practice logs.  The notebooks are meant to serve as one more method of communication between students and teachers.  Please keep it in a safe place and take it to each lesson.  In lieu of a notebook, ensemble members will receive an informational packet or handbook.

Thank you for your support of our programs.  We anticipate another rewarding and productive musical year!

For the Lawrence Academy of Music,

Karen L. Bruno, director

Spirited Songs Airing in June on WPT

Wisconsin Public Television (WPT) will feature the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center 10th-Anniversary concert, Spirited Songs: A Choral Celebration in several broadcasts in June. The concert, recorded in February, showcases performances by the Appleton-area’s leading choral organizations — the Lawrence Academy Girl Choir, the Appleton Boychoir, and the White Heron Chorale — as well as combo performances and a finale of all 260 voices on stage with an audience sing-along.

The Bel Canto and Allegretto choirs of the Girl Choir program participated in the choral extravaganza. “As WPT shines a spotlight on our programs and programs like ours in other communities, it celebrates the ways in which the arts remain a vital part of our human experience,” says Karen Bruno, conductor of Bel Canto, artistic director of the Girl Choir program, and director of the Academy of Music.

WPT also will provide songs, not included in the broadcast, and interviews with some of the young choir members at on the Web.

Spirited Songs: A Choral Celebration is part of WPT’s multiyear Young Performers Initiative that celebrates Wisconsin’s young artists.



On air

8 p.m. June 3, WPT

4 p.m. June 8, WPT

9 p.m. June 26, Wisconsin Channel

12 a.m. June 27, Wisconsin Channel

12 p.m. June 29, Wisconsin Channel



Streamed live at:

9 p.m. June 26

12 a.m. June 27

12 p.m. June 29


Visit for special web extras not seen in the broadcast.

WMTA Badger Auditions

Several Academy students participated in the WMTA State Badger Auditions on May 18, 2013. Congratulations to winners at the event including Alicia Zhang, Colin Mayo, Brian Zhou, Charles Wu, Marc Padilla and Christina Hanson, and runners-up Reagan Blohowiak and Grace Flaherty, all from the studio of Larisa Topolkaraeva. Receiving an Honorable Mention were Katherine Jeng, Philip Buchman and Pierce Blohowiak from Ms. Topolkaraeva’s studio and Payton Fors from the studio of Catherine Walby.

The winners and runners-up performed on the winners recital held at the end of the day.

Piano Masterclass with Maggie Charnon

Maggie Charnon, Green Bay piano instructor and clinician, held a master class with Lawrence Academy of Music students on Friday, May 3 at Harper Hall of the Lawrence Conservatory. Participating students Christopher Le Doux, Gabriel Smith,  Alicia Zhang, Gabrielle Medema, Tracy Wang,  Leyna Hahnke, and Colin Mayo were from the studios of Nell Buchman, Anna Reiser, Michael Rivers, Larisa Topolkaraeva, and Catherine Walby.


Piano Festival 2013

Over 140 students participated in the Lawrence Academy of Music Piano Festival on April 20, 2013.  Following performance auditions and theory tests, the winners were chosen to perform in Harper Hall at Lawrence University this Sunday, April 28 at 1 p.m.  Congratulations to these young people and their teachers for their outstanding effort!

Grades K-1 Winner
Caroline Jia

Grades K-1 Honorable Mention
Audra Jenike

Grades 2-3 Winners
Angelina Wang
Mateo Timm

Grades 2-3 Honorable Mentions
Jordan Powers
Liam Richards
Aditya Senthil

Grades 4-5 Winners
Asha Keck
Colin Mayo
Emily Hauer

Grades 4-5 Honorable Mentions
Leyna Hahnke
Karina Mose
Krithika Senthil
Gabriel Smith
Kaden Van De Loo

Grades 6-7 Winners
Kaylann Adler
Pierce Blohowiak

Grades 6-7 Honorable Mentions
Reagan Blohowiak
Kristina Jeng
Brian Zhou

Grades 8-9 Winners
Marc Padilla
Liam Mayo

Grades 8-9 Honorable Mentions
Evans Chen
Payton Fors
Daria Van De Loo
Charles Wu

Grades 10-11-12 Winners
Frankie Beach
Brandon Li

Grades 10-11-12 Honorable Mentions
Vanessa Beach
Grace Flaherty

Spring Concert Weekend

Had enough of Wisconsin’s never-ending winter weather? Venture out this weekend and attend an Academy concert in the warmth of the Lawrence Memorial Chapel!

The Academy will present four concerts this weekend.  Saturday’s concerts include the Academy String Orchestra (ASTRO) and the LAMP orchestra at 3 p.m., and the Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble, at 7 p.m.  Sunday the Girl Choir program presents their spring concert Here’s to Song at 2 and 7 p.m.

ASTRO, an ensemble of fifth through eighth grade string students directed by Janet Bond Sutter, will perform a variety of pieces from the traditional Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, to Beethoven’s Allegretto from Symphony No. 7. The adult level LAMP orchestra, under the direction of Rachel Richards, will present a variety of folk songs and dances. Both orchestras join in a fiddling finale, Fiddles on Fire by Mark Williams.

The middle school level Symphonic Band directed by David Hamilton performs Tichelli’s Cajun Folk Songs and Copeland’s Down A Country Lane. Michael Ross, director of the Wind Ensemble, will lead the high school level ensemble in a series of dances, including Shostakovich’s Folk Dances, Danzon No. 2 by Marquez, and Part 1 of Alfred Reed’s Armenian Dances. The ensembles join on stage in Harold Walter’s  lively Instant Concert, a compilation of 30 separate well-known melodies from symphonies, operas, folk songs, spirituals, marches…all in the space of three minutes.

Sunday’s final concert of the Girl Choir season features 330 girls in six choirs, grades 3-12, who will perform music celebrating the joys of singing. Conductors of the program include Karrie Been, Karen Bruno, Amber Evey Schmidt, Patty Merrifield, Cheryl Meyer, and Debbie Lind.

Tickets for all weekend concerts are available at the Lawrence box office, 920-832-6749.