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Salisbury Symphony provides education on strings

Salisbury Symphony Orchestra

As people begin arriving at Isenberg Elementary School for the Salisbury Symphony Education Concert, the four members of the Gray family arrive together. Many families are coming in: kids with violins or cellos and moms, dads and grandparents with flowers and cellphones.

But the Gray family is a little different. Mom Elizabeth, or Liz, and daughter Emma, dressed in identical outfits, are both carrying violins. Brother Marcus has his viola, and dad Alan hauls in his cello. The entire family are students in the Level 1 After School Strings program at Faith Elementary School, and they are ready to play at the end-of-the-year concert.

After School Strings is an education program of the Salisbury Symphony that provides string instruction on violin, viola and cello, to those 8 and older. This year, classes were taught at Faith, Isenberg and Millbridge elementary schools. Students attend twice a week, and classes are offered for beginners and intermediate players.

The Gray family studies with Lynne Latham, the instructor at Faith.

“She’s the best teacher I’ve ever had. She’s sweet and caring and the best strings player ever,” said Marcus. “I would really recommend her for any beginning student.’’

Most of the After School Strings students are elementary-age students, but the Gray family has no problem attending as a multigenerational group.

“It’s brought us all closer together,” said Liz. “I felt it was important for the kids to see that no matter your age, you can learn to do anything you set your mind to.”

“It’s nice because we get to spend time together as a family,” said Emma.

The Gray family plans to continue in After School Strings in the next school year.

Marcus says playing is “relaxing and something I can do any time.” Emma agreed, saying that playing was something she could do to spend time with her teacher and her family, and Liz recommended the program for other families.

“I have always felt that learning music is important for kids. I consider it part of their schooling,” she said. “The After School Strings program makes it accessible to all kids at a very affordable rate. I would love to see more parents getting involved with their kids too. To me, it’s a no-brainer: I think everyone could benefit from participating in this program.”

Between now and September when the next round of After School Strings classes begin, the Salisbury Symphony offers Summer String Camp at First United Methodist Church on June 17-21.

This weeklong camp offers string instruction for beginning, intermediate and advanced string players ages 8 and older.

Registration information can be found at www.salisburysymphony.org/education. Email questions to education@salisburysymphony.org or call 704-216-1513.

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