About Us


AZ ASTA Members at the ASTA National Conference, March 2019
Toru Tagawa, President John Haggard, President-Elect At the Leadership Meeting, Albuquerque, NM, National Conference



To Enrich Lives through the Joy of Teaching and Playing String Instruments

Our growing chapter of 250 members represents string lovers of all sorts: violinists, violists, cellists, bassists, guitarists, harpists, performers, teachers, students, amateurs, professionals, parents of string players, and luthiers. You will find a very supportive and active community of string enthusiasts at ASTA-AZ.

Throughout the year we provide activities for our members and their students that promote their love of string playing and encourage growth of skills as they teach and perform.

Additionally, the national ASTA provides members with an award-winning journal published four times a year and hosts an incredible three-and-a-half-day conference, with performances and sessions that are guaranteed to inspire and inform.  

ASTA Application Form



Maria Simiz, President

Emilio Vazquez, President-Elect

John Haggard, Past-President

Ruthie Wilde-Wenger,  Secretary

Amanda Hartley, Treasurer

John Haggard, Solo Competition Chair

Mary Ann Ramos, Northern Membership Chair (Flagstaff Area)

Danica Terzic, Central Membership Chair (Phoenix Area)

Jason Sah,  Southern Membership Chair (Tucson Area)

Constitution and Bylaws:

Meeting Minutes:  ASTA Meeting Minutes 2004-2006   ASTA Meeting Minutes 2007  ASTA Meeting Minutes 2008  ASTA Meeting Minutes 2009   ASTA Meeting Minutes 2010   ASTA Meeting Minutes 2011   ASTA Meeting Minutes 2012   ASTA Minutes Jan. 2014   ASTA Minutes May 2015   ASTA Meeting Minutes Sep. 2015   ASTA Meeting Minutes June 2016 ASTA Meeting Minutes August 2016 ASTA General Meeting August 2016 ASTA Meeting June 2017  ASTA Meeting Minutes Sep. 2017ASTA-Meeting-6_6_18 ASTA Meeting 9_15_18 ASTA Minutes 5_29_2019 ASTA meeting 9_21_19

Past Fall Workshop Clinicians

2021- Elizabeth Ramos, Kirk Johnson and Desert Sounds

2020-Kirt Mosier, Charles Laux and Simply Three

2019- Soon Hee Newbold, Molly Gebrian

2018- Richard Meyer, Tammy Yi

2017- Karin Hallberg, Jenny Nichols, Christopher Finet, Nancy Buck, Jonathan Swartz and Walt Temme

2016-Debbie Lyle

2015-Brenda Brenner

2014-Susan Day, Tetra Quartet, Clark Chaffee

History of the Past Winners of the Outstanding Teacher Award. (Odd-Even = Studio Teacher, Even-Odd=Public School Teacher), Nominations are open from September 1 – November 1 by sending few paragraphs about the teachers accomplishment and why you think the person deserve the award.  Winner will be announced after voting within the board members. E-mail to [email protected]


Shari Paris is the current ASTA-Arizona String Teacher of the Year 2020 and has been teaching Suzuki Violin in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area for 30 years. Shari specializes in Early Childhood Music Education and is the founder and Director of Music For Early Childhood, LLC. In addition to her Early Childhood and Suzuki training, Shari also works as a teacher and clinician in the Orff-Shulwerk method and has presented sessions for the National MENC and AOSA conferences as well as the Arizona Music Educators Conference.

Shari’s violin students have been accepted to major University Music and Orchestral programs around the country including the Juilliard School of Music. Her students are consistently awarded top chairs in the Valley’s Youth Symphony Orchestras including 4 Concert Masters in the 2018-2019 season.

Shari comes from a family of music educators. Both of her parents were University music professors as well as her sister who is recognized nationally and internationally for her String Basics Middle School Orchestra Book series.

As a child, Shari was trained in the Suzuki Method from age 5. Through the years she has received instruction from William Starr, Louise Scott, David Becker, Michele Higa George, and Flory Godinez.

She is a graduate of Arizona State University and was a full scholarship recipient and a member of the Arizona State Symphony Orchestra.

Shari has a large and flourishing private studio where she enthusiastically teaches 64 students weekly. Her students range in age from 2 to 60 and perform throughout the Valley.

2019-2020 Shari Paris
2018-2019 Terry Alexander
2017-2018 Laura Tagawa
2016-2017 Karalee Hagen
2015-2016 Marybeth Tyndall
2014-2015 Amy Bennet
2013-2014 Susanne Rothaar
2012-2013 Walt Temme
2011-2012 Louise Scott
2010-2011 Catherine Nichols
2009-2010 Dan Swaim
2008-2009 Bill Bitter
2007-2008 Dennis Bourret
2006-2007 Diane Grieser
2005-2006 David Rife
2004-2005 Fran Veres
1999-2000 Patricia Cosand

History of the Presidents

2020-2012 John Haggard
2018-2020 Toru Tagawa
2016-2018 Jonathan Swartz
2014-2016 Theodore Buchholz
2012-2014 Shelly Rich
2010-2012 Terry Alexander
2008-2010 Janice McDivitt
2006-2008 Ann Williams
2004-2006 Donald Hamann
2002-2004 Marna Bowling
2000-2002 Carol Matthusen
1998-2000 Claire Gordon
1996-1998 Beth Gilbert
1994-1996 Patricia Cosand
1992-1994 Sheila Kendall
1990-1992 Louise Scott
1988-1990 Daniel Swaim
1986-1988 Phyllis Skoldberg
1984-1986 Margaret Ruccolo
1982-1984 Jeffrey Showell
1980-1982 William Magers
1977-1980 Dennis Bourret
1975-1977 John Ferrell
1974-1975 Richard Gregory
1972-1974 Gordon Epperson
1970-1972 Frank Spineza
1967-1970 Dale Brubaker
1965-1967 Eugene Lombardi
1964-1965 Lauritz Bjorlie
1962-1964 Anna Mae Sharp