Daniela Gongora holds a Master’s degree and Bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, from the University of Rhode Island. She began her studies at the Pallotti School of Music in Belize City, Belize where she eventually began a full time teaching career as the Director of the Pallotti School of Music from 1996-1999.
Ms. Gongora first went to Rhode Island as a participant and representative of her country in the World Scholar Athlete Games. Following that trip she received a Feinstein Scholarship to attend a school in the state of Rhode Island.
She has attended the Festival Pro Mundo Uno in Orvieto, Italy where she worked with Professor Michael Grube (Austria) and the International Music Festival held in Devon, England.
She was Concert Master of the Rhode Island Philharmonic Community Orchestra from 2006-2010. She has given chamber music performances in Rhode Island and neighboring Massachusetts, and internationally in Belize, Central America, and France. She performs as a free lance violinist and violist in Southern Connecticut and neighboring New York.
She is currently the Director of the Daniela Gongora Music Academy located in Norwalk, CT. Her warm and patient yet persistent style of teaching has made her a highly reputable teacher. Her students have all received recognition in their own right as music scholarship recipients to universities. They have been accepted into advancement programs in conservatories such as The Jiulliard School and competitive summer programs such as the Sphinx Performance Academy. They have also received high marks (distinctions) on exams through the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music.
She has received her Suzuki training through the Suzuki Association of the Americas. Pedagogues include Helen Brunner-Spira, Alice Joy Lewis, Ronda Cole, Susan Baer, Kathy Wood, Doris Preucil, Kimberly Meier-Simms and Thomas Wermuth. In 2016 she was awarded the Suzuki Association of the America’s Certificate of Achievement, an award given to teachers that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to excellence in their teaching,
Ms. Gongora began the Belize Music Project In the summer of 2001, a very important venture of sharing what she holds dear to her heart. This philanthropic project entailed hosting concerts and masterclasses in Belize with invited professors and students, as well as alumni from the Pallotti School of Music.
In 2020, she established and currently directs the Belize Suzuki Summer Institute which takes place in Belize in July. It’s first year was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic but then hit the ground in summer of 2021. The goal of the institute is to give the students and teachers in Belize accessibility to training and higher music learning in the Suzuki Method.
Stacy Smith, violin, is a Suzuki Violin Teacher Trainer and a Suzuki Strings Specialist in the Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD outside of Fort Worth, Texas. Formerly the Faculty and Artistic Director of the Intermountain Suzuki String Institute, the Suzuki Program Director at the Gifted Music School in Salt Lake City, Utah, and President of the Suzuki Association of Utah, Stacy has a degree in Violin Performance from the University of Utah where she studied with Gerald Elias and Mischa Boguslavsky. Ms. Smith has completed hundreds of hours of Suzuki training, primarily with Edmund Sprunger, Jeanne Grover, Linda Fiore, Mark Mutter, Cathy Lee, Carey Beth Hockett and others, and is truly passionate about Suzuki Education.
Stacy has presented educational sessions to both parents and teachers at state, national and international Suzuki conferences and conventions and is a frequent contributor to the Journal of the Suzuki Association of the Americas. Stacy is on faculty at Suzuki workshops and institutes across the United States, and a featured presenter for the Suzuki Association of the America’s “Parents as Partners” series. In April of 2018, Stacy was awarded the Suzuki Association of the America’s Certificate of Achievement, an award given to teachers that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to excellence in their teaching, and in 2023, Stacy became a Violin Teacher Trainer with the Suzuki Association of the Americas.
Stacy is a Suzuki mom to five children: a violist, a violinist, a pianist, and two double bassists, all of whom provide her most in-depth Suzuki training.
Gretchen Grube grew up as a traditional violin student in northern Wisconsin. She was exposed to the Suzuki method when she began studying violin at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. As an undergraduate student, Ms. Gretchen took a Suzuki Pedagogy course at the world-renowned Aber Suzuki Center in Stevens Point, WI with Pat D’Erocle. During the course, Ms. Gretchen fell in love with the Suzuki philosophy and teachings. She has been teaching traditional and Suzuki lessons for ten years.
Ms. Gretchen holds a B.M. in Violin Performance with Suzuki Pedagogy from University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP). She completed her M.M. in Violin Performance with Suzuki Pedagogy from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE).
Ms. Gretchen has been published in the American Suzuki Journal and has presented at the Biennial Suzuki Conference on Classroom Management. She is also a past president of the Suzuki Association of Wisconsin chapter affiliate.
Ms. Gretchen worked at Talent Education Suzuki School (TESS) in Norwalk, Connecticut. At TESS, she taught private and group Suzuki classes, and was the founder of our Suzuki Babies program.
Ms. Gretchen was the former string department chair Wisconsin Conservatory of Music.
Currently, she teaches private violin and viola at the Music Institute of Chicago and Music for Youth in the Arlington Height’s District 25 . She embraces the Suzuki philosophy to help and encourage students to reach their fullest potential. She enjoys working with children and watching them grow into outstanding individuals.
In addition, she is an active clinician across the country at institutes and workshops and plays in an Irish rock band called the Gleasons.
Ms. Gretchen also enjoys playing with her cat, scrapbooking, and eating ice cream!
Dr. Sara Bennett Wolfe is the Director of SBW Cello Studio in Norwalk CT. She was Cello Department Head at the Talent Education Suzuki School (TESS) in Norwalk CT from 2012-2016. In summers, Sara is on the rotating faculty at the Ithaca, Ozark , Belize, and Intermountain Suzuki Institutes, and she taught at Kinhaven Music School’s Junior Session from 2011 to 2019.
Previous teaching positions include the Cleveland Institute of Music’s Sato Center for Suzuki Studies, Westminster Conservatory of Westminster Choir College, Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Arts—Extension Division, Point CounterPoint Chamber Music Camp, and Ithaca College, where she was the graduate teaching assistant to cello professor Elizabeth Simkin. Sara is in demand as a cello clinician, directs the annual Fairfield County CelloFest, and was the Guest Artist at Montana State University’s 2013 Cello Festival.
Sara earned her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Cello Performance from Rutgers University. She completed a Master of Music degree in Cello Performance and Suzuki Pedagogy at the Cleveland Institute of Music, and also earned a Master’s degree in Cello Performance from Ithaca College. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Cello Performance with distinction from Indiana University.
Sara has held the position of Principal Cellist with the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra, Opera in the Ozarks, and the Urban Playground Chamber Orchestra. She has also performed with the Mimesis Ensemble, Metamorphosis Chamber Orchestra, Symphony of Westchester, Norwalk Symphony, Canton Symphony, Ashland Symphony, Binghamton Philharmonic, Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, and Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes. Venues include Carnegie Hall, NJPAC, Ravinia, and performances in Italy and Switzerland. Sara is a founding member of the Thales Piano Trio, which concertizes regularly throughout New England and the Mid-Atlantic. She has recently participated in commercial recordings and premieres for two new choral works in New York City, where she is an active freelancer.
Sara’s primary teachers include Jonathan Spitz, Merry Peckham, Elizabeth Simkin, Emilio Colon, Jodi Beder, and Elizabeth Loughran. She has completed Suzuki Teacher Training with Beth Cantrell, Carrie Reuning-Hummel, Pam Devenport, Melissa Kraut, Heather Hadley, Alice Vierra, and Mark Mutter. Sara is a winner of the Mason Gross School of the Arts Chamber Music competition, the Indianapolis Matinee Musicale competition, and the Brevard Music Center’s Advanced Chamber Music Fellowship.
Sara believes deeply in the power of music education to teach students about love, discipline, and perseverance. She enjoys being an integral part of her students’ “village,” and is thrilled to witness each small step as she and their parents guide them towards growing into Dr. Suzuki’s image of “noble human beings.”
For three decades, Julietta Burrowes armed with a Bachelor's degree in music education, has been a guiding force in the realm of musical education in Belize. With over 30 years as a piano teacher and more than two decades as a skilled steelpan instructor, Burrowes has finely tuned the art of musical instruction. Serving as the musical director and arranger for the Panerrifix Steelband of Belize for 18 years, Burrowes has orchestrated a symphony of success. Suzuki Piano trained, Julietta Burrowes continues to inspire and shape the musical journeys of students, leaving an indelible mark on the world of music education.