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Stringed instrument skills on display

By Cynthia Hooper
For the Salisbury Post
Following several small tweaks to the performance date due to snow days, the Salisbury-Rowan Symphony’s After-School Strings Winter Concert was held Tuesday night at Isenberg Elementary School. The auditorium was filled with excited parents, friends and family waiting to hear the sweet sounds of the children playing music.
Under the instruction of Karen Franks and her assistant Martha Smith, the 31 students split into two groups based on experience and performed their songs for the attentive crowd. One gentleman held tightly to a bouquet of roses waiting to give them to his daughter.
The Strings 1 group started playing together last fall with a few students who also attended the Summer Strings Camp. Of the 23 in the group, 20 play the violin, while the other three play the cello. The group showed the audience their skills by going up and down the D Scale. They also performed “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” “London Bridge,” a Mozart melody and “Jingle Bells,” which Franks pointed out, “is a winter song, not a Christmas song, and it is still winter,” laughing about the late date of the performance.
Students in the Strings 1 class are, on violin, Audrey Andrews, Loriana Arguello-Foster, Jaxon Evans, Na’yuanna Glenn, Gracie Henderson, Kirkland Hunter, Skylar Jahnke, Elizabeth Jones, Nico Keck, Ronni Lilly, Taron Lilly, David Martinez, Max Morgan, Emily Peck, Taylor Pistone, Hannah Smith, Alexis Smith, Madison Smith, Carly Stiller and Mia Taggart; and on cello, Mariah Glenn, Nathan Hooper and Gavin Thompson.
The Strings 2 and 3 Group, for intermediate and advanced levels, have been playing together for two years or more. They were challenged by some more advanced pieces, including “Lightly Row,” “Kookaburra,” “The Snake Charmer” and “Rockin’ Strings.” In addition to the violin and cello, the smaller group also includes one student on the viola.
Students in the Strings 2 and 3 Group are, on violin, Mary Brown, Jackson Gannon, Shea Hardman, Christian Gonzalez-Hernandez and Matthew Smith; on viola, Megan Smith; and on the cello, John-Luke Deneen and Bethanie Stauffer.
The After-School Strings program is held twice a week from September through April at Isenberg, Granite Quarry and Landis elementary schools. The program is made possible through grants and donations, including the Pepsi Refresh Everything Grant and the Rowan Arts Council Mona Lisa Wallace Arts-in-Education Grant.
Scholarships provided for some students to attend the classes and rent instruments are funded through donations from more than 40 Positive Notes Scholarship donors. Without the help of the community, many students would not have the opportunity to attend these classes.
For information about this and other Salisbury Symphony educational programs, contact Susan Trivette, education director, at 704-637-4730 or strivett@ catawba.edu.

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