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BSSA Faculty

Colleen Fitzgerald, Director
Ms. Colleen Fitzgerald, executive director of the Barcel Suzuki String Academy (BSSA), currently teaches private and group violin lessons and Suzuki Early Childhood Education classes at BSSA. Ms. Fitzgerald earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance with Suzuki Pedagogy Emphasis under mentor, Professor Carol Dallinger at the University of Evansville and a Masters of Arts in Teaching degree from Cardinal Stritch University. She has also received supplemental Suzuki teacher training with Kay Collier-McLaughlin, Ed Kreitman, Tom Wermuth, and Alice Joy Lewis and acquired her Early Childhood Education training under Suzuki ECE founders, Dorothy & Sharon Jones. Ms. Fitzgerald started Suzuki violin lessons at age 6 and two years later began studies with Suzuki teacher trainer, Joan Rooney.

Colleen was awarded the Certificate of Excellence in Studio Teaching from the Civic Music Association of Milwaukee (2006) and earned the Certificate of Achievement 1 from the Suzuki Association of the Americas (2017). She has been featured on local TV and radio programs as well the Beyond the Music Lesson podcast to discuss the Suzuki Method. Colleen travels throughout the United States to serve as a guest clinician at various Suzuki workshops and summer Suzuki institutes. Students of Ms. Fitzgerald have won MSO's Bach Double Violin Competition, numerous MYSO Concerto Competitions, the UWM Concerto Competition, as well as many college scholarships and received Honorable Mentions is the Young Artist Auditions with the MSO. Besides teaching, Ms. Fitzgerald frequently performs as a violin soloist and is a member of her church's handbell choir.

Celestine Fitzgerald, Founder
Mrs. Celestine Fitzgerald has been teaching Suzuki violin/viola since 1980. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Alverno College studying under St. Agnes Meysenburg. In 1984, Mrs. Fitzgerald attended the Suzuki Association of the Americas Teachers' Conference in Chicago, where she had an opportunity to be in the presense of Dr. Shinichi Suzuki and learn directly from him. She received her Suzuki training from nationally known Teacher Trainers Joan Rooney, Alan Lieb and Carol Dallinger. Mrs. Fitzgerald is a SAA registered Suzuki violin/viola instructor.

She began her Suzuki teaching with Sister Noraleen Retinger, at Mount Mary College. After leaving Mount Mary she continued her teaching as a faculty member of the Rooney School of Violin before founding the Barcel Suzuki String Academy with Barbara Schaefer in 1994. In addition to her teaching, Mrs. Fitzgerald was a Suzuki mom to three wonderful children. In 1995 the Civic Music Association of Milwaukee awarded Mrs. Fitzgerald the Certificate of Excellence in Studio Teaching.

Barbara Schaefer, Founder
Barbara Schaefer has been teaching in Ozaukee County since 1982. Prior to founding the Barcel Suzuki String Academy with Celestine Fitzgerald in 1994, Mrs. Schaefer was on the faculty of the Rooney School of Violin. She received her Suzuki training from nationally known teacher trainer Joan Rooney, and from teacher trainers Craig Timmerman, Nancy Jackson and Geri Arnold at Suzuki Institutes in Wisconsin & Michigan. She is a SAA registered violin instructor; her professional memberships include SAA and NFMC. Mrs. Schaefer credits her abilities to the grace and gifts of God.

Gina Wood
Mrs. Wood is a diverse violinist with extensive experience as an orchestral performer, chamber musician, and educator. At age 3, she began her Suzuki studies with Mary Ellen Meyer and continued with Suzuki teacher trainer, Joan Rooney. Mrs. Wood earned her Bachelor of Music degree in violin performance from Illinois Wesleyan, where she studied under Vadim Mazo. While at IWU she served as Concertmaster of both the IWU Civic Orchestra and the IWU Camerata Chamber Orchestra. After completing her degree, she moved to Milwaukee to be the Associate Concertmaster of the Green Bay Symphony, Concertmaster of the Green Bay Civic Orchestra and Principal Second Violin of the Racine Symphony Orchestra.

As an orchestral musician, Mrs. Wood has performed with some of Milwaukee, Madison and Chicagoland's finest ensembles. Her freelance work has included performances with Peter Cetera, Kristin Chenoweth, Charlotte Church, Art Garfunkel, Josh Groban, Roger Hodgson (Supertramp), Garrison Keillor, Johnny Mathis, Anne Murray, Bernadette Peters, Diane Reeves, Maxim Vengerov, among others. Her musical career has taken her to perform at Carnegie Hall, in the Czech Republic, Italy, Austria and Canada, and regionally in the North American Tours of Josh Groban, Celtic Thunder, Mannheim Steamroller, Rod Stewart, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses. Mrs. Wood's recording experience includes music for AHAVA Productions and original works by composer Josh Schmidt.

Mrs. Wood is the founder of the award-winning Memorable Music Ensembles, which provides extraordinary live music for weddings, annual celebrations and corporate events.

Julia Murphy
Julia Murphy currently teaches the "Barcel Babies" class for BSSA - a music experience for children ages 0 to 4 years of age with an adult. In preparation to teach this class she has completed Suzuki Early Childhood Education Levels I & II totaling up to over 60 hours of training. She began teaching this class in the fall of 2015.

Ms. Murphy earned undergraduate degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in General Music Education and in Music Therapy as well as a graduate degree in Administrative Leadership. She has been employed as a music teacher and music therapist in the Elmbrook School District and by the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music.

Ms. Murphy experienced the Suzuki method firsthand as the parent of two children who graduated from the BSSA program. She serves as a collaborative pianist for students currently in the program and also helps out with various duties related to the BSSA organization.

Suzuki Teachers Creed

We realize the unlimited possibilities of early education.

We also realize that every child can be educated. Our purpose is to develop this ability, and present this fact to the world.

We are delighted to be teachers of the Suzuki Method and fully comprehend the responsibilities we have as teachers.

We will continue to study teaching in the future with much reflection, and through this continuing study, we will be better able to concentrate energies toward better teaching.

We solemnly affirm that we will keep this promise as a Suzuki Method teacher.

Featured Video

God Bless America by Berlin
used with permission Fleckstein Videography
"When love is deep, much can be accomplished."
- Dr. Suzuki
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