The SPA String Program teaches the Suzuki method and believes every child & adult can learn to play a string instrument! We work alongside our parents and/or guardians to guide them as they help their child succeed and excel in their instrument. During the year, students will receive the opportunity to perform in solo recitals, Bellevue worship services, outreach opportunities, solo festivals, and annual String Graduation Concert. The SPA is also a member of the West TN School Band & Orchestra Association (WTSBOA) which allows our students who do not attend a public or private school to participate through the SPA in their regional, state, and national events for Band and Orchestra (All West, All State, Solo and Ensemble, etc).
One of the best features of the SPA string program is our Ministry String Ensembles. They rehearse once a week and participate in major music events here at the church. They also minister and perform regularly in the community.
Auditions for these ensembles will be held in early August. Email Lindsay Alexander to set up an audition time.
Cecily Britt – Violin
Cecily studied violin at the University of Memphis Suzuki program for 15 years primarily with Pak-Chung Cheng. She is a graduate of the University of Memphis with a B.A. in Communications. She has been an active member of the Bellevue Orchestra since 7th grade and has taught violin with Bellevue’s SPA since 1999. She has been a member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas and has completed many courses through the SAA’s Teacher Training program.
Cecily served on the Bellevue Music staff as the Suzuki String Coordinator from August 2005 – September 2009. In September 2009 she assumed the title of Director, School of Performing Arts for the entire school where she worked until February 2012 when she resigned to become a stay at home mom. Cecily still teaches violin part time at the SPA. Cecily’s mission is to help students and their families use music to glorify the Lord, serve in the Body of Christ, develop characteristics of hard work and commitment, and to experience lifelong memories and friendships. Cecily and her husband Matt have three daughters named Lucy, Rose and Grace. In addition to teaching the two oldest how to play violin, she is also enjoying the adventure of homeschooling.
Cynthia Nowell – Violin
Cynthia Nowell holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Memphis in Family & Consumer Science. She has studied violin since age 5, beginning under Nathan Lanier. She continued her studies through the Bellevue SPA under Ami Ellis McVay, Judy Bragg, and Leah Thomas Hendrick, through the University of Memphis Community School under Margaret Soper Gutierrez and Erin Hamilton, Robert Sivy and Janice McNair at Bryan College and at University of Chattanooga’s Cadek Conservatory of Music. Cynthia has enjoyed playing, performing, and ministering through the Bellevue Orchestra, Ensembles, Choirs, the Bellevue Victory Marching Band, the Memphis Youth String Orchestra, her high school and college ensembles and orchestra, as well as individual and family/groups leading worship.
Cynthia is a member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas and is continually works to complete training for all of the Suzuki Levels. She is currently trained through Suzuki Violin Book 3. Cynthia enjoys working with children and learners of all ages, sharing her love of music to the glory of God.
She is married to Matt Nowell and they have two daughters, Lillian and June, and a son, Zeke.
Kristy Robinson – Violin/Viola
Kristy Robinson began violin at the age of 6 at the Bellevue SPA and is an active member and participant in the many opportunities offered there. Kristy continued violin study with Joy Brown Wiener in middle and high school, and studied with Timothy Shiu and Ara Sarkissian in college. In December of 2013, she graduated summa cum laude from the University of Memphis with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music, violin performance. Kristy studied viola with Lenny Schranze at the UofM for three years. In January of 2012, Kristy sat as principal violist in a concert with the Annie Moses Band at Carnegie Hall, and as assistant principal violist in the Nashville Praise Symphony in 2013.
Kristy has taught violin for 7 years and has Suzuki training in Books 1-3 with Libby Armour. She has taught fiddling, chamber, and private lessons for the past 4 years at the Fine Arts Summer Academy with the Annie Moses Band. Kristy enjoys fiddling and improvising in several settings from folk music to church music. She performs often in local community orchestras, and loves spending time with her husband, Daniel and adorable girls, Elizabeth and Emma. Kristy believes that music is a gift from God to be used to glorify Him and draw others to Him.
Joel Schnackel – Double Bass
Joel Schnackel not only serves as Suzuki double bass teacher at Bellevue SPA but also the instructor of double bass at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, Ar., Joel is principal bass of the Conway Symphony and performs as bassist in Jackson, North Mississippi, and Tuscaloosa Symphonies, as well as the Savannah Philharmonic. Joel holds a M.M. degree in double bass performance from the University of Memphis, and B.A. degree in music composition and technology from the University of Montana, and is currently ABD at the University of Memphis, working on his Ph.D. dissertation in historical musicology.
Martin Palacios – Violin
Martin Palacios holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in Music from Pensacola Christian College as well as a second Masters in Music from the University of Memphis in Suzuki Pedagogy. Martin’s music career began in Pensacola during his senior year of college teaching private lessons for violin, viola, and cello students, and conducting the intermediate string orchestra at Pensacola Christian Academy. During his two years teaching at PCA, several of his students competed and won scholarships for the annual Pensacola Music Teachers Association Sonata Competition in Florida. When Martin came to Memphis in December of 2013 to pursue his second masters, he became actively involved in the music ministry at Bellevue Baptist Church and began teaching violin and viola at the School of Performing Arts. Several of his students have competed and won positions in the All-West Orchestra with one student making it to All-State. Martin also conducts a church string ensemble at Bellevue Baptist Church which performs in nursing homes regularly as part of the Bellevue Loves Memphis ministry.
In addition to teaching violin and viola at Bellevue Baptist Church, Martin is also an active performer. Currently, he serves as Principle Second Violinist with the Jackson Symphony Orchestra, subs for the Memphis Symphony, and holds the concertmaster position for Bellevue’s Orchestra. His performance career thus far has brought him in concert with prestigious Christian artists including Sandi Patty, Veritas, Michael W. Smith, and Natalie Grant. Martin enjoys freelancing around Memphis, writing and arranging music, drawing, playing ultimate frisbee with friends, and spending lots of time with his wife Bonnie, who is also an avid music lover, and their daughter Raven.
Jamie Weaver – Violin
Dr. Jamie Weaver graduated from the University of Memphis with a Doctorate of Musical Arts in 2015. Her dissertation focused on teaching young violin students to practice well. Jamie grew up in Waco, Texas, where Baylor University is located. She earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s of Music from Baylor, then, after taking a year off to teach violin full time, Jamie moved to Memphis in 2011 to pursue her doctorate. Her studies with Dr. Soh-Hyun Altino in Memphis greatly influenced her teaching. Jamie has also taken Suzuki teacher training in violin books 1-4, during which her interactions with Edward Kreitman influenced the writing of her dissertation and thoughts on setting students up well.
Jamie loves spending time with her husband Lee, son Luke and daughter Madison.