Kids show off string skills in youth orchestra performance

‘A Rising Tide of Music’ featured more than 100 strings on the stage

Families and community members on Friday , April 28, packed the Mariner Theater to watch Homer youth perform in “A Sea of Strings,” a spring orchestral program organized by Homer OPUS with the help of local teachers and volunteers.

Musicians from the Homer Youth String Orchestra Club, the adult ensemble Codas, Paul Banks Preludes, Fireweed Frescoes and Chapman Eagle Ensemble participated. Homer OPUS is a local nonprofit organization dedicated to creating music and making violin instruction available to youth at no cost to families.

The Friday event was conducted by Abimael Melendez, who was born and raised in Venezuela and a product of the country’s music program, El Sistema, according to information provided in the program. Melendez holds a Bachelor of Music in violin performance, a master’s in education and a doctorate in educational sciences. He has also received a master’s in music education from Bard College’s Longy School of Music in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The evening event exhibited an array of young musicians. OPUS students begin their musical studies by constructing cardboard violins to help them develop an awareness of what they are holding, where to focus and begin to prepare for real violins.

The concert began with a demonstration of the cardboard violins from the kindergarten students.

A dozen more songs were played by members of each additional elementary class.