Category: Events

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.

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

Making Time for Tutti!

Tutti. I’m a word geek and I just love this one. For those of us who are not musicians, it means: all voices working together.  I love it when the sounds of words echo their meaning. Just say it! The word bounces with excitement. Now, say it again. Doesn’t it also whisper with a warm sense of sharing? This word probably speaks to me because three years ago our family experienced this creativity and sharing when it was not expected.

A frigid February evening had settled in quickly and it was dark around five, but the weather outside the Warch Center at Lawrence was in sharp contrast to the energy and warmth inside. At one end of this complex, overlooking the river, thirty to forty 11-18 year olds were gathered to share their music with each other and their assembled audience. They were united by quiet pride in their ability and a palpable sense of excitement. Among them was my daughter, who had been asked to perform. That evening, she was nervous. She wanted to help teachers she cared about: she wanted to give back to a community that had inspired her and nurtured her. As my husband and I watched, we saw teachers, and students, encourage, guide and support each other. We watched young people glow in a sense of achievement and enjoyment. We saw poise, pride and a sense of self –worth. We were a small family of four but in that room we knew we had a much bigger unit supporting us in values we held dear: a love of the arts, a belief in self –realization, and deep desire to share these possibilities with the rest of the community. The event was Tutti; the purpose, to raise money for scholarships through combined creativity.

The huge irony was we would not have even considered attending if Claire had not been asked to sing.  With this opportunity came the gift of reduced tickets. We didn’t have a lot to give in a monetary sense and we thought that ruled us out.  However, that night, as these young people performed, we realized that we gave by sharing our talents, talents nurtured by the very place that we wanted to support and, in giving, we grew as individuals and a family.

We were not the only ones that had discovered this. The audience was mixed and many of the Academy’s strongest supporters were not there in person; instead they were represented through the beautiful baskets at the opposite end of the room. People had given talents as well as items. There was a baby-sitting basket, from  Bel Canto girls offering time and company; there were music lessons donated by teachers, and there was a beautiful basket of handmade cards for all occasions. That night my family had an important lesson reinforced; we all have something to offer.

This year my husband and I are both volunteering our time. As a family, we have created a bread- making basket. Each of us has helped with the cooking (and sampling!). Already, we have had fun on a limited budget and we’ve had a chance to be creative. On the night, it will be a desire to help, and a sense of what we have to offer that will be most important. We really want to share this evening with as many of you as we can, so please join us.

  • Can you volunteer on the night? If so please call on 832 6632 and talk to Cheryl or Sara about possibilities.
  •  Donate just a small item to a studio or an ensemble.
  • Be creative! Give of your talents and design a basket to represent these.

This is more about the size of your heart and imagination than the size of your donation. When our family came to Appleton, we recognized the Academy offered us a creative and generous home, and that is why we stayed. Please join us so we can share the magic that happens when all voices are working together.

By Anne Powling

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!

LAM in Appleton Christmas Parade

Lawrence  Academy of Music has been chosen to have a float in the 42nd annual downtown Appleton Christmas Parade! The theme this year is the music music and lights of Christmas. Would you like to be a part of the fun? We are looking for Academy families who would like to help with construction and decoration of the float, and who might like to ride on the float in the parade. Please e-mail the Academy at and let us know if you would like to join us!