Allegheny Mountain Strings Project Teaches Music in Three Counties

The Boston Symphony Orchestra? The New York Philharmonic? No, but it would be understandable if you thought that amazing wall of sound was coming from a group of older seasoned players. Actually, the musicians responsible for it are talented local youth, none of whom are even old enough to drive themselves to practice.

The Allegheny Mountain String Orchestra is part of the Allegheny Mountain String Project. Director and Highland resident Gretta Sandberg explained more.

“I am the director of the Highland String Program, which is part of the Allegheny Mountain String Project, which is an educational branch of the Garth Newel Music Center, so we’re kind of all wrapped together.

“We began it in 2010 – it covers three counties, Highland, Bath and Allegheny counties, and brings these kids together, so that they get to know each other, and hopefully love each other. There’s another instructor, Jaime Letourneau McCardle, who is teaching the string instruments for the Bath and Allegheny counties. I teach all the string instruments here in Highland, which includes the violin, viola, cello and bass.”

A group of 13 of her students, ranging in age from 11 to 14, performed concerts at the elementary schools in Bath and Highland Wednesday, to the rapt attention and appreciation of the listening audience.

“I think the most enjoyment is, first of all, I have always loved teaching strings. But it’s not just the strings, it’s teaching the kids. The minds of these kids are just incredible – the fact that they light up when they realize that they can do something together – when they can play music together, and the joy on their faces is really beautiful to see.”

Ms. Sandberg offered contact information for those interested in becoming a part of Allegheny Strings.

“Well, they can contact me, or Jamie McCardle. Our e-mail addresses are on the Garth Newel website – if you click on education, they will take you to the Allegheny Mountain String Project – or you can catch me in Dollar General.”

Story By

Scott Smith

Scott Smith is the General Manager for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has previously taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

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