Members Only Music Teachers Association of California, Santa Cruz County BranchMTAC Members Only
President’s Note

MTAC Teachers, Students and the Greater Santa Cruz Musical Community,

We are very much living in unprecedented times. With our county under shelter-in-place, it probably goes without saying that many of our branch activities are impacted:

Certificate of Merit — POSTPONED to late May or June, pending approval from County Health Officials.
Munching with Mozart — CANCELLED through May.
May 17 Library Branch Recital — CANCELLED.

That being said, many of our teachers and students have chosen to continue lessons remotely. It almost certainly takes more time and energy for both teacher and student to work this way, and I am so proud of everyone’s good attitude and flexibility towards going online.

Since all concerts are cancelled or postponed for the time being, it’s worth mentioning there are some excellent musical freebies that may be streamed online:

Metropolitan Opera —
Berlin Philharmonic —
Saturday Evenings with SC Baroque Festival:
Tonebase —

Please stay safe and healthy, and I look forward to resuming branch activities as soon as we are able.


Best Regards,
Ben Dorfan, Branch President


Suzanne Duval, a Gentle Soul Moving On

I am reminded of the Schubert song, An Die Music as I mourn the passing of our friend and colleague, Suzanne Duval who died April 7, 2020.

Oh hallowed Art, how often, when depression
and life’s wild circle had ensnared my space,
Have you aroused my heart to love’s compassion,
Have you removed me to a better place!

Suzanne struggled for several years with Post Treatment Lyme disease; an auto immune illness contracted by a tick bite during one of her beloved summer camping trips. With no cure, Suzanne battled it into remission only to have it reappear again this past Fall. When asked how she was doing, she would shrug and say, “Ok. Just tired and a bit achy”. Many were unaware of her condition as she continued to spread music throughout our community.

Suzanne’s warm, graceful soul and clear voice inspired many singers and audience members. She was a soloist and board member of the Santa Cruz Chorale, was music director of St. Stevens Lutheran church, was a teacher at Cabrillo College and was a private voice instructor and member of MTAC.

For NextStage Productions Suzanne was a beloved choral teacher/director/arranger and accompanist who instilled in her Senior vocal students a passion to communicate deep emotion. Her arrangement and conducting of a “Senior” choral version of the Star-Spangled Banner at a Santa Cruz Warriors game still brings smiles.

Little by little her struggle deepened and she began to pull away from the music activities she loved until she indeed was “removed to a better place.”

-Kathryn Adkins


The Music Teachers’ Association of California®, incorporated in 1897, is a professional organization dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in music education. With over 4,700 members, there are 64 affiliated Branches throughout the state. MTAC serves over 100,000 students.

The mission of MTAC is to pursue excellence in music education and advance the music teaching profession through innovative programs that foster artistic growth and achievement.

Our Foundation

Your tax-deductible donations support scholarships and other special Branch activities. You may specify a favorite project, or let us choose the fund most in need. Make checks payable to SCCMTAC.

Mail checks to:
Barbara Jirsa, Treasurer
221 Nevada Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060


SCC-MTAC Officers and Board of Directors (2019 – 2020)

President: Ben Dorfan
Vice-President: Laureen S. Herr
Treasurer: Barbara Jirsa
Recording Secretary: Patricia Verheul
Membership Secretary: Carolyn Christian
Communications: Carol Panofsky

Certificate of Merit: Heather Thompson Smits
At large: Christine Bakalis (Recitals)
At large: Charlotte McManus (Recitals)



Our gratitude goes to Arts Council Santa Cruz County for the Develop Grant that helped pay for the creation of this site.

Website Manager: Lynn Kidder    *    Website Developer: Caroline Webster