By Beth Black (in Feb 2019 pg. 75 of “The Parklander”, the family friendly magazine since 1991) - music instructor in Coral Springs Highly acclaimed Russian/American violist Dr. Leana Strouse was as bewildered and grief stricken as we all were on Feb. 14 when 17 lives were violently lost at Marjory Stoneman Douglas. Dr. Strouse, who studied music under some of the most renowned musicians in Russia, played the violin and was the conductor of the Kiev Youth Orchestra prior to coming to the United States. Strouse is a music instructor in Coral Springs and said that her ties to Parkland are strong as some of her students are from that area.

Fortunately, none of her students were among the 17 but Strouse said some of the students were so grief stricken that they were unable to continue with their lessons. Strouse said she continued to ask herself “What can I do?” With preparations already underway for her December 2018 recital, Strouse made the decision that she would alter the program to honor the memory of the shooting victims.

A personal incident involving her husband, who has dementia, further cemented this decision. According to Strouse, her husband had an episode at their home and a call for help was made. Strouse indicated that her husband was confused and the incident with the authorities escalated. Her husband became more afraid, paranoid, and resistant. What ensued left Strouse in shock and disbelief. She describes the situation where she said her husband was beaten.

Strouse discusses the lack of responsibility she feels the police took in both the situation at Marjory Stoneman Douglas and with her husband. “No one is bringing those children back and my husband will never be the same. Music is my voice,” Strouse said, and she knew that she must use music in her words “as a warning to the innocent.”

During the recital, titled “In Honor of the 17 Lost,” some wore orange, the color of awareness. Strouse teaches three instruments: the violin, the piano, and viola. Some of the students played all three instruments during the program that took place at Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church on Dec.15, 2018. Strouse said the entire performance was done in minor as a somber reminder. The final piece, titled Panis Angelicus, was difficult to complete through the tears, Strouse adding that “life is precious.”

Florida Youth Orchestra

By Dr. Leana Strouse (in page 56 of Season Twenty-Three 2010-2011 Florida Youth Orchestra year book) - music instructor in Coral Springs Dr. Leana Strouse congratulates all of her students who have been accepted to the Florida Youth Orchestra:

  • Rachel Benaroch
  • Sarah Fishkin
  • Desiree Ji
  • Musin Ji
  • Mathew Satar
  • Amanda Walenciak
  • Sarah Walenciak

Dr. Leana Strouse

European-trained teacher

Violin - Viola - Piano

Comments from parents in the year book:

Pg. 85: Congratulations Sarah! We are so proud of you. Love Mom, Dad …

Pg. 93: Dear Rachel, We are so proud of you! You are doing and amazing job playing the violin. We all love you very much! Love, Daddy, Mommy, …

Pg. 86: Musen Ji and Desiree Ji – Have a wonderful Season at FYO !

Pg. 93: Dear Mathew, Congratulations on your first year at the Florida Youth Orchestra! You make us very proud as we listen to you play music. Love, Mom, Dad …

Pg. 94: Amanda and Sarah, We are all so proud of you for all that you’ve accomplished. Congratulations! Love Mom & Dad

By Nina Benaroch (in page 34 of July 2010 issue of Parkland / Coral Springs Life magazine) - music instructor in Coral Springs Students of Coral Springs music teacher, Dr. Leana Strouse, recently competed in the Florida Federation of Music Clubs, Inc. (FFMC) Annual Junior Convention in Jacksonville. This competition was the 73rd annual Junior Convention for the FFMC held at the University of N. Florida in Jacksonville. The young musicians were invited to compete in Jacksonville only after receiving Superior ratings at the local level.

Among the winners were Parkland residents Max Benaroch, age 17, Rachelle Benaroch, 15, and Alissa Babaian, 14, as well as Coral Springs residents Brandon Boothe, 11, Matthew Satar, 9, Joseph Lubben, 17, and triplets Michael, Joshua and Tom Lubben, 15. The kids won multiple 1st place awards and honorable mentions in piano, violin, cello and string ensemble categories. In addition, Tom Lubben was nominated for the coveted Irene Muir Memorial Award.

All together, Dr. Strouse’s students brought home 50 first prizes and honorable mentions. Dr. Strouse is very proud of her students and was thrilled by their overall performance this year.

2010 festival winners

(Back row, L-R): Tom Lubben, Joshua Lubben, Joseph Lubben, Michael Lubben; (Middle row): Max Benaroch, Rachelle Benaroch, Brandon Boothe; (Front row): Matthew Satar & Dr. Leana Strouse.

By Lois Malachowsky (page 23 July 2004 issue of The Parklander magazine, which is now called the Parkland / Coral Springs Life magazine) - music instructor in Coral Springs Sara Rosenthal, 12, daughter of Thelma and Don Rosenthal of Parkland, recently won first place in Piano Solo Primary III - Division 3 at the prestigious Florida Federation of Music Clubs 2004 State Junior Convention at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville.

Sara played Farewell Blues by Martha Mier.

A 6th-grade “A” student at West Cedar Middle School, Sara has been taking private piano lessons for a year and a half under Dr. Leana Strouse. Although Sara qualified last year with only six months of lessons, she waited another year to polish her skills for the competition. Sara said it was “cool” to go to Jacksonville and it was “really exciting and (I was) very surprised” at winning. Not that she didn’t expect to, of course, but “there were a lot of talented kids there.”

Students are invited to the state competition after performing before three judges at a local competition (Sara competed at Broward Community College.) Divisions are based on level of play, not age, so Sara as in the Primary III group.

The Jacksonville competition is formidable and a 12-year- old needs to summon up a lot of courage to perform on a major stage in front of family, friends, teachers and judges.

“I’m not a shy person,” said Sara, who has participated in theater and singing groups. “I met a lot of kids,” she added, explaining that the competition was “fun” and she knew her level attitude of “practice and prepare to win” would keep her buoyed up throughout the rigorous contest. Don Rosenthal added: lilt was five children at a time, When she played it was perfect. All the parents said, ‘She’s the one to beat.’”

“It’s a lot for a kid,” Don said, citing school and home- work obligations in addition to at least an hour of daily practice (1-1/2 hours a day two weeks before competing), “and you want them to have a little fun, too.” Shana Rosenthal, Sara’s younger sister and a student at Riverglades, noted “It was cool” to see her sister play so well. “The competition was really hard and I’m glad my sister made it to first place.”

The Florida Federation of Music Clubs (FFMC) was organized in 1913. Affiliated with the National Federation of Music Clubs, its purpose is furthering musical education and fostering a musical environment in communities. There are seven districts of the FFMC in Florida. Sara competed in the Royal Poinciana district which encompasses Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties. “I didn’t go up saying I had to win,” Sara said, “I went up wanting to win.”