After two years of being shut down because of the pandemic, Strings Impact is up and running again in Portsmouth Public Schools!
We’re celebrating a successful kickoff of this long-running residency that introduces fourth, fifth, and sixth graders to playing the violin, with instruments provided by the schools.
The program is taking place after-school at Churchland, Lakeview, and Simonsdale Elementary Schools, with students taking one 90-minute lesson a week for twelve weeks. At the end of the residency, each set of students will show off what they’ve learned in a special concert for family and friends.
Tina Culver, a fulltime music teacher at Churchland Elementary School, is the A4L teaching artist for the Churchland Strings Impact residency. Although she didn’t grow up in Portsmouth, she says the opportunity to learn the violin changed the course of her life.
“I had such a wonderful experience from the moment I started playing the violin in the fifth grade—I just hit the ground running, and I was involved in all different kinds of music programs within my community, orchestras, went on to the governor’s school, then went on to college and eventually took that up as a major.
If there hadn’t had been programs like this available for me, my childhood would have been so much different.”
That’s why Tina feels so strongly about programs like this that expose underserved students to quality arts education. “For Portsmouth, I feel it’s important to be a part of the program because a lot of those kids are not normally getting access to classical music or to string instruments,” she says. And by having her as a teacher, students “see someone who looks like themselves, someone who’s young, someone who’s positive and energetic, and someone who tries to make it fun and interesting.”
John Jenkins is the teaching artist for the Lakeview and Simonsdale Elementary residencies. He works as a band teacher at Manor High School in Portsmouth. Altogether, 52 students are participating in the three residencies, with a waiting list of 14 students at Churchland. The enthusiasm is high among all the students—one girl writes that she may want to be a professional violinist when she grows up!
Strings Impact began about 17 years ago after starting at Westhaven Elementary School in Portsmouth. It has rotated among different schools since then.
We want to thank the E.C. Wareheim Foundation and Portsmouth Public Schools for underwriting the Strings Impact program!
Do you want to support arts education for students who may not otherwise experience it? You can make your tax-deductible gift by clicking here.