Musical Petting Zoo encourages future String Artists

“Collaboration” is more than just a buzzword these days; when some individuals, or groups combine efforts to offer a win-win for young people, we get to see collaborating in action. Jamie McArdle, director of the Allegheny Mountain Strings Project, and violin teacher, knew the Bath Branch of the Rockbridge Regional Library would be a good place in these last few weeks before school starts to try something new. It’s the venue for a first ever, Musical Petting Zoo. From Tuesday August 8th through Friday August 11th, student in grades I through 7 are encouraged to come join in.

“What it is, is a chance for students to come in without a large commitment of time and resources to be able to try out string instruments for a couple of days and see if they like them or not. “

Jamie explained why she and the year-round String group, and the library came together to offer the Zoo.

“If a student is just curious about strings, it’s not always easy for the parent or the family of the student to commit to an entire year of study, and finding an instrument. We just thought this would be a fun way for kids to come in and kind of test the waters before they commit to joining a program where they can play around with it, and see if they like it, and if they really are interested then they can consider joining a program more long term, but this is a nice non-committal way to get involved and to just try out.”

Which instruments will be available for students to try at the Musical Petting Zoo?

Violin is the most common one that people want to learn is how to pick up a fiddle and play it. We’ll also have an opportunity to try the cello, and I’ll have a couple of violas as well, that are basically in between the violin and the cello, with a little bit of a deeper sound, a slightly larger instrument, and tends to be one that calls to different people in different ways. It’s got a little lower, deeper voice, and some people really enjoy that.

What do any first through seventh graders who are interested need to do now?

“Students should go ahead and call the library, and they can register in advance there. The program is free, but I do need advance registration just so I know how many instruments we’ll need. Also, we encourage students to be able to come all four days of the workshop because even though it’s kind of petting zoo, in order to really kind of make a sound, and get anywhere, you’ll need a couple of days in order to work with it a little bit. If you can’t make every day, we can be flexible, but most of the days is really what you’d want to commit to if possible. “

The specifics again on the days and time are the following.

“The workshop will be held, Tuesday, August 8th through Friday August 11th, and it’ll be from ten am to noon, and at 11:30 on Friday the 11th, we’ll have a little mini concert to show for the parents, and anybody who’s interested, and wants to come and see what they’ve learned.”

To sign up for this free Musical Petting zoo, four half-days of string instruments workshop, call the Bath Branch of the Library.839-7286.

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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