From the gleaming russet wood of pint-sized instruments, to the shining buckles on children’s dress shoes, to the carefully-practiced notes of the Hallelujah Chorus, Thursday night’s All-Island Winter Strings Concert was full of polish.
About 150 students participate in the strings program each year, learning violin, viola, cello and — in some cases — bass under the instruction of Nancy Jephcote and Chelsea Pennebaker. The music teachers travel to all of the Island schools every week, rehearsing everything from Hot Cross Buns for the younger children to Guantanamera for older students.
Ms. Jepchote said she spent a great deal of time shopping around for music that is both easy to play and “cool — not too babyish.” The Intermediate Orchestra performed R.A. Svendsen’s First Finger Suite, which, as the name indicates, students play with just their first finger, gently plucking out the melody.
The older students, for the first time in many years, mastered the technical practice of vibrato to perform Sibelius’s Finlandia.
“They really took to it with a will,” Ms. Jephcote said, adding that in the early stages of learning vibrato, the resulting sound can be a bit Martian-sounding. But there were no alien noises on Thursday night. The Advanced Orchestra smoothly swept through the piece, and were met with rousing applause from the proud families in the audience.
Click here for more photos from the All-Island Winter Strings Concert.