Fiddlin'  Around 

Diane McCullough serves on MAAE's RIDE Committee addressing issues of racism, inclusion, diversity and equity. She is a music educator (retired) with a wealth of experience she freely shares. Her professional career path has included international performance experience in opera, and as a consultant and national trainer for Music! Words! Opera! with extensive partnerships with Opera Theatre of St. Louis. A founding director for three nonprofit organizations – 1) Karumanta, an Andean flute band, 2) The St. Louis Scottish Games, and 3) Scottish Partnership for Arts and Education (SPAE), McCullough continues to serve the arts community and has been honored by peer groups and community foundations. Most recently, she received an “Ageless Remarkable St. Louisan” award from the St. Andrew Charitable Foundation in 2022.

The document below is the culminating project reflecting extensive research into the role of Black strings players in American folk, jazz and classical music. Diane gratefully acknowledges the other members of the creative team: lesson plan contributors, Suzanne Palmer and Blake Hernton. 

The research paper was first presented at the 2023 Missouri Music Educator's Conference. A reprise of the presentation is scheduled for 4.13.23.


Lesson Plans by Suzanne Palmer


Individual Lessons

SPAE Violin Unit Lesson 1

SPAE Violin Unit Lesson 2

SPAE Violin Unit Lesson 3

SPAE Violin Unit Lesson 4

SPAE The Money Musk Lesson 

or, you can download
the entire group here as a zipped file.

Lesson Plans by Blake Hernton

Mrs. Suzanne Palmer currently serves as  Fine Arts Director in the Normandy Schools Collaborative and is Artistic director and conductor of the Community Gospel Choir of St. Louis and is the founder of The Fellowship of Souls Gospel Ensemble. A music educator, professional singer and music director, Mrs. Palmer has put her talent to work to teach many people in her words- the transformative, life affirming, spiritual power of music to bind, cleanse and heal the soul. She has received many awards and is the recipient of The St. Louis Arts and Education Council-Arts Educator of the Year-Legacy Award 2023.

Blake Hernton is a concert violinist/violist, recording artist, musician and music educator in school settings and private studios. Currently, Hernton teaches orchestra at Ritenour High School in Overland, Missouri. A member of the Ophelia String Quartet, Hernton performs in several local venues offering free classical and contemporary experiences to students and members of the St. Louis Area. Hernton’s greatest passion is for his local high school orchestra students who enjoy learning a multitude of musical genres including traditional Classical Music, Neo Soul, Gospel, and Hip-Hop.