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posted: 6/5/2014 8:55 PM

Fox Valley Orchestra honors Stan Smith with Champion of the Arts Award

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  • Stan Smith, a music icon in the world of string teachers, is honored by the Fox Valley Orchestra

    Stan Smith, a music icon in the world of string teachers, is honored by the Fox Valley Orchestra

Gail Sonkin

The Fox Valley Orchestra celebrates the conclusion of its fourth season with its final concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, June 22, at the Paramount Arts Center in Aurora.

The Fox Valley Concert Band joins in the Pop Concert event. The orchestra's gala fundraiser follows the concert at 5 p.m. Aside from the gala being an elegant event with jazz accompaniment and scrumptious goodies to munch on, this year the gala honors Stan Smith as the recipient of the Champion of the Arts Award.

"Stan Smith is an icon," said Rhona Reagan, a faculty member of the Midwest Young Artists.

"He is one of the most dedicated, talented, kind, and inspiring people I know," said Allison Zabelin, a former student and principal violist in the orchestra. "Not only is he an absolutely incredible teacher, as is evident with former students attending top conservatories throughout the country and playing in professional orchestras around the world, but his passion extends beyond teaching music. Stan has inspired hundreds of students, including myself, to be well-rounded, kind, compassionate, arts-supporting human beings."

"Stan Smith respected each student enough to seek effective wavelengths to connect, to bring success, and to build character in each individual," said Rebecca Sandrock, a fellow Suzuki educator. "He was successful in being a strong, positive influence in the broader community. His students have taken that character building into many professions in many places."

"The highlight of my career, and it is difficult to pick one event, was my retirement concert in 2009 when alumni returned from all over the United States to participate in the concert," said Smith. Renown as a music educator, Smith has learned many lessons from his students as well.

"Success in the early years of instrument study is most important to long term success. Kids will rise to the standard you set for them. I've learned that if you learn to play an instrument well, you will have music enjoyment as part of the rest of your life. The things that are necessary for success on an instrument such as focus and perseverance are things that will help in success on any life endeavors."

Smith is honored and proud to be given this year's Champion of the Arts award.

"It has been 5 years since I taught in Aurora. Apparently people remember and appreciate what I did for those 45 years." Smith adds, "I am a very lucky man to have been able to do something I'm so passionate about, making a living wage and having so much fun doing it."

On Sunday, June 22, join the Fox Valley Orchestra at its concert at 3 p.m. and fundraising gala from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Paramount Arts Center, Aurora.

Tickets for the concert are $13 for adults and $11 for seniors and students. They can be purchased online or at the door. Tickets for the fundraising gala and be purchased online for $50. There are raffle tickets as well. For more information and tickets, go to

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