The Block

Debut Strings to Rehearse at Farmers Market this Fall

Grant from Wheeler Fund at the Community Foundation for Muskegon County provides private lessons for financially challenged students

Muskegon, Michigan, August 4, 2020—The West Michigan Symphony Debut Strings program—which normally meets weekly in The Block throughout the school year—will hold its rehearsals at the Muskegon Farmers Market this fall, beginning September 14 and continuing until cold weather sets in. Rehearsals will be every Monday night from 5:30 to 7pm in the indoor/outdoor barn at the Farmers Market.

“It is important in a time like this, when children are facing so many changes and restrictions on the things they love to do, that we find creative ways to keep music in their lives,” stated Director of Education Karen Vander Zanden.  “Thanks to the generosity of Muskegon Farmers Market, we will be able to physically distance as our members come together for the first time since March.” Students will be required to wear masks and to observe other safety protocols.

The Debut Strings program includes two ensembles: Debut Strings (beginner and intermediate) and Premier Strings (advanced). String players audition to be part of this ensemble, rehearsing weekly during the school months, to strengthen their playing abilities, experience unique performance opportunities, and meet new musical friends.

“We are excited to find a safe outdoor meeting space to make music together again,” said Director Angela Corbin.  “We thank the Muskegon Farmers Market for helping this important youth music program to continue this year.”

Even during COVID-19, dedicated young string musicians continue with the private lessons that are essential—along with ensemble experience—for their progression. Thanks to a generous gift of the John L. Wheeler Fund of the Community Foundation for Muskegon County, WMS has been able to award five study grants to fund private lessons. Recipients include the following:

Maria Basaj, Premier Strings
Sage Brewer, Premier Strings
McKenna Erb, Debut Strings
Corina Mitteer, Premier Strings
Samuel VanOosterhout, Debut Strings

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