Recording Academy tips hat to Kendall

Hailed as the founder of SIUE’s Suzuki String Program – making SIUE the first university in the country to have such a program – the posthumous honors being granted to John Kendall are numerous. The 2011 broadcast of the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards proved another occasion to honor the pioneer.

It was a proud moment for SIUE students, faculty and staff tuning into the national broadcast of the award show on Sunday, February 13. The former music professor – who passed in January at the age of 93 – was listed among other great musical contributors during the “In Memoriam” portion of the show.

John Kendall, former music professor emeritus at SIUE, was honored at the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards.

For Kendall’s former colleagues and SIUE’s community at large, the honor served as a reminder of the many contributions Kendall made, not only to SIUE but, to the entire music world.

Kendall, along with his wife Kay (deceased), will also receive the Sustainability Leadership Award from the Friends of the Center of Spirituality and Sustainability at SIUE in March. The couple is being honored for their work in creating the Watershed Nature Center in Edwardsville.

Below, Vera McCoy-Sulentic, director of SIUE’s Suzuki Program, shares her thoughts on Kendall:

“By bringing the Suzuki Method to the United States, John Kendall changed the entire landscape of string education in the United States. Never before had a music education system come with a foundation that included nurturing the whole child, partnering with parents, and an inherent belief that the study of music would create noble human beings.

“Kendall’s tireless efforts in promoting the method in the United States and around the world brought international attention to SIUE in the 1960’s as the university was beginning its presence in the Metro East area. Kendall brought Shinichi Suzuki and his tour group of 10 young children to Edwardsville and records show that Kendall even wrote letters to try to get the tour group on the Ed Sullivan Show.

“Kendall envisioned teacher training as a key element to introducing the Suzuki Method to a wide audience and had the support of  the SIUE administration inestablishing the very first Master’s Degree Program with an emphasis in Suzuki Pedagogy. Hundreds of graduate students have passed through this program and are now leaders and mentors around the world.

“Countless professionals in the field of music had their start in the Suzuki Method. Erin Schreiber, currently the Associate Concertmaster of the St. Louis Symphony, started in the SIUE Suzuki Program at age 4. She is the youngest concertmaster ever named to a major symphony position (she turned 21 at her first concert with the St. Louis Symphony)

“Shinichi Suzuki, as the creator of the method, changed music instruction forever but without John Kendall those ideas would have remained in Japan. Kendall travelled the world as a spokesperson and champion of a methodology that resonated with him personally and with the thousands of students and teachers who came in contact with him. A map of his travels includes workshops in Iceland, China,Israel, South America, Europe,Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Canada, and 48 states where he taught students and trained teachers.

“This is the reason I believe that the Academy chose to recognize and honor this one man who had such an extraordinary impact on music education and therefore on the music industry as a whole. I was thrilled when I saw that the Grammy Awards had chosen to highlight the life of a person “behind the scenes” who worked tirelessly to improve the lives of all children through music.”

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