Salisbury Symphony introduces strings classes to Nazareth campus

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 24, 2019

ROCKWELL — The sound of music is filling the campus of Nazareth Child & Family Connection’s youth residential campus this fall and it’s a sound and skill the young people can carry with them for life.

The Salisbury Symphony debuted one of its After School Strings programs at Nazareth Child & Family Connection’s residential campus in late September with a dozen youths, mostly high schoolers, taking two lessons a week through Dec. 11. Six will be playing cellos, five violins and one the viola.

The goal of the symphony is simple and straightforward.

“We want to educate young people in classical music, to teach them in string instruments, to teach them the importance of classical music, to consume music all their lives, maybe even to earn a living with music, but certainly to enjoy,” said Elizabeth Cook, education director for the symphony.

The symphony, which has several After School Strings programs in the area, was looking to add a site that reached students who were “very under-served” musically, according to Cook. They contacted Nazareth officials to ask about beginning a group there and the response was quick and enthusiastic.

“What an amazing opportunity this is for Nazareth and our residents. We have never had a program like this before,” said Vernon Walters Jr., Nazareth’s president and CEO. “Thanks to the Salisbury Symphony a dozen of our residents are going to add a skill and passion that will be with them the rest of their lives.”

The students are being instructed by Lynne Latham, a member of the Salisbury Symphony who is a professional cellist and composer.

Cook said the Nazareth classes are different from anything the Salisbury Symphony, which has been around for more than 50 years, has done in the past.

“For all the other students in our After-School Strings sites, there is a parent or two or a grandparent in the home supporting them,” said Cook, who was a choral instructor in Rowan County schools for 27 years. “The students at Nazareth, this is something they would not have had if we had not brought it to them.”

The classes, Cook said, are about more than teaching the youngsters how to play an instrument.

“They have to practice, they have to learn commitment, have to learn to work as a team. They have to be patient with other students that may not move as fast as them,” said Cook. “There are a lot of thought skills involved. And when you play music as a group, there is a lot of pride involved.”

The 12 new musicians have two 45-minute classes a week with Latham and will perform a small concert on campus at the end of the first semester during the holiday season.

“We are very excited to watch these young people learn and grow as musicians and see how these classes impact their lives,” said Walters. “Everybody on campus is excited about this program and we can’t wait to hear them play.”

Nazareth offers an array of services, including family foster care, adoptions, transitional living services for young adults, level two therapeutic residential, individual and group outpatient therapy, psychiatric services and outpatient substance abuse therapy in Rowan, Davidson and Stanly counties. If you would like more information about giving or volunteering at Nazareth, please contact Blair Wilson, director of development, at 704-279-5556 ext. 113 or by emailing