Friday, November 14, 2014


We’ve got strings right here in Calvert County Public Schools.

I had the pleasure this week of attending the All-County Orchestra concert this week at the new Calvert County High School Auditorium.  What a beautiful facility and what beautiful sounds those children made.

I’m really excited about the strings program because, you see, I’ve never ever had a strings program in my schools before.   Ever.

Most school districts begin band instruction in 4th or 5th grade.  Standard band instruments – flute, clarinet, sax, trumpet, drums.   If they stick with it in high school they generally get some additional options – jazz band, concert band, marching band.  I’ve had some schools get special grants to borrow and teach steel drum bands.  That can be fun.

But violin, viola, cello, bass, it seems like those instruments make sounds that get into your heart - sounds that give you goose bumps – tunes that put a tear in your eye.

In Calvert County Public Schools every child has the opportunity to hold and stroke and strangle and mangle some sound out of a violin.  We let them begin between 4th and 6th grades.  We loan them an instrument if they don’t have the means to lease or buy one.  What a gift to have the opportunity to see if you like the fiddle without buying one.  

So, students at each school get the opportunity from 4th grade to graduation to play a stringed instrument, to appreciate how they blend together, to develop an ear for harmony and musical nuance that can’t be provided in any other environment.   We have to acknowledge that this is all part of group instruction during the school day with no opportunity for private lessons if one shows a special talent.  Private lessons may be hard to find.

Bottom line, I loved hearing the orchestras.  There was a middle school group and then a high school group.  I assume they were the first string.  I assume they were good and didn’t have to pull any strings to get selected.  Really, I don’t mean to string you along.

They made beautiful music.  Pulled on my heart strings. 

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