Author: Karen Bruno

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

Academy to Join The Achievement Program

The Lawrence Academy of Music has recently decided to join The Achievement Program, sponsored by Carnegie Hall and The Royal Conservatory, as a Founding School.  This will give students and parents one more option when it comes to personalizing instruction and setting goals.  Both theory and performance programs are available.  To learn more, please visit:

If you would like to learn more about this opportunity in person, please join us at one of two parent meetings run by the Regional Director of The Achievement Program:

Saturday, January 5, 1:00 pm


Saturday, January 5, 3:30 pm

Both meetings will take place in Shattuck Hall 156 in the Lawrence Conservatory (classroom behind the Chapel).  This will be your opportunity to ask questions about the program.

The Academy has also applied to be an assessment center.  We need approximately 25 assessments this coming May to run the site; existing sites in Wisconsin are in Eau Claire, Hartland, Racine, and Watertown.

If you are interested in learning more about The Achievement Program, please join us on January 5thRSVP if you plan to attend:  920-832-6632.

Academy Student Performs in Master Class

Philip Buchman, sixth-grade student of Larisa Topolkaraeva, has been selected to play on a master class with Forrest Kinney this Saturday, October 27th during the Wisconsin Music Teachers Association (WMTA) annual conference.  This year’s conference is held in Appleton. The topic of the master class is “The Art of Improvisation.”  Congratulations to Philip and to Ms. Topolkaraeva on this honor!

LAMP Orchestra Performs at Convention

The Lawrence Adult Music Programs (LAMP) Orchestra has been selected by audition to perform at the Wisconsin Music Educators Association (WMEA) convention in Madison this Thursday, October 25th.  The adult orchestra will perform a varied program at the Monona Terrace to an audience of music educators and members of the public.  One of the selections the orchestra will play was composed by the Lead Teacher of the Academy String Project, Carrie Gray.  Congratulations to Rachel Richards, conductor, Olive Bopp, small group instructor, and to the orchestra members for their dedication and fine work!

Andreas Klein Master Class

Please join us as Lawrence Academy of Music and Lawrence Conservatory piano students enjoy a master class with pianist Andreas Klein.  The free class, graciously sponsored by the Fox Valley Symphony,  will take place on Thursday, October 4th from 6:30-8:30 pm in Harper Hall at the Lawrence Conservatory.  Academy students performing are from the studio of Larisa Topolkaraeva.  Charles Wu will play “Allegro” from Mozart’s Sonata in C Major, K. 330, and Marc Padilla will play “Allegro Moderato” from Beethoven’s Sonata in F Major, Op. 10, No. 2.  For more information on Andreas Klein and his upcoming performance with the Fox Valley Symphony, visit this website:

Bel Canto Girl Choir Places Second in National Competition

The Lawrence Academy of Music‘s 56-member Bel Canto Girl Choir, the high school component of the Academy’s 330-member Girl Choir, earned second-place honors in the 2012 national American Prize in Choral Performance competition.

Conducted by the Connecticut-based Hat City Music Theater, Inc., the American Prize supports national competitions for the best recorded performances of music by ensembles and individuals each year in the United States at the professional, college/university, church, community and secondary school levels.

Karen Bruno, director of the Academy of Music and the Girl Choir program, submitted more than 30 minutes of music culled from a variety of the choir’s recent performances for the national competition.

“We are thrilled to have earned this recognition, particularly as it is named the ‘American Prize.’” said Bruno. “The Academy Girl Choir program is proud to represent the Fox Cities and Wisconsin with this award. Our singers hail from a wide geographic area, attend public, parochial and home schools, and have families representing a wide range of income levels. Our scholarship program ensures that access to the Academy Girl Choir program is available to any girl who wishes to participate.  We are truly a cross-section of our community; we are the Fox Valley’s girl choir program. On behalf of our singers, sincere thanks to the parents, teachers, and community members who have supported us for more than 20 years.”

The Girl Choir program provides quality choral opportunities for more than 300 girls throughout the Fox Valley region. Through the study and performance of the highest quality music, girls develop vocal technique, musical skills, creativity, expressive artistry, and an awareness of various cultures.  The Girl Choir program strives to create an atmosphere that encourages girls to respect the uniqueness of others, to take risks that foster individual growth and to continue their development into self-assured young women.


Academy Students to Perform at PAC Open House

Lawrence Academy of Music students will perform at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center on Saturday, August 18 as part of the PAC’s 10th Anniversary Open House for the community.  Performing on the Thrivent Stage at 10 a.m. are Academy pianists Harry Baldwin, Lydia Krueger and Christopher LeDoux; violinists Anne Schrieber and Alicia Mose; soprano Claire Powling; cellist Brandon Dosdos; and a chamber ensemble with Nathan Mose, Deanna Mose and Alicia Mose. Teachers of the students include Anna Reiser, Carol Jegen, Janet Bond Sutter, Catherine Walby, Roza Borisova, Carol Leybourn and Samantha George.

In addition to the Academy performances, the free event held August 17-18 will include backstage tours, theater workshops, presentations, and an instrument petting zoo. More information about the open house and a full schedule of events may be found at