In the Classical Style at the Redwood Library

In the beautiful surrounds of the Harrison Room at the Redwood Library, we were thrilled to share a program of string quartets from the height of the classical era. Guest artist Jesse Holstein shared an insightful pre-concert talk as part of our Tune In series, which set the stage for a high-energy afternoon of vibrant chamber music.

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Our thanks to the Redwood Library, Frank Leith of the Newport Photographers Guild and the enthusiastic concert-goers.

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Flights of Fancy at the Norman Bird Sanctuary

Flights of Fancy

On Thursday, April 30th at 7pm the Newport String Project returns to the Norman Bird Sanctuary with Flights of Fancy, an evening of traditional fiddle music and poetry. Drawing upon birds and flight as inspiration, we invite you to join us in this mingling of lyricism in word and melody. Fiddler EmmaLee Holmes-Hicks and guitarist Mike Sokolovsky will be joined by poet David Dragone and reader Adrienne Taylor to bring you a performance that invites your imagination to take wing.

When: Thursday, April 30th at 7pm

Where: Mabel’s Studio at the Norman Bird Sanctuary, 583 Third Beach Road, Middletown RI 02842

Tickets: $20 members, $25 non-members

Early registration advised – REGISTER HERE.

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Storytime at the Newport Public Library

A paper violin comes to LIFE!

Paper violins

On March 28th at 10:30 at the Newport Public Library, the directors of the Newport String Project will present a morning of music and storytelling.

Children and their parents are invited to listen to, and participate in, the story of Diego and his magic violin. Diego will be joined by the class of beginning students from the Martin Luther King Center and together they will demonstrate how a paper violin can become real through the power of music.

The audience of parents and children will enter into the story as Diego and his friends learn to make their paper violins sing. Through song and movement, children will discover what happens when you sprinkle a little magic on a paper violin.

The story is especially intended for five- to ten-year-olds, but all are welcome.

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The power of a little inspiration

This year’s beginner violinists are busily working away with their lovingly crafted paper violins but what about those second year students that already have instruments? These young violinists and violists are progressing beautifully – demonstrating “5 star” bowhands, chasing the art of smooth bowing and relishing the challenges of finding notes with the left hand. It can be a daunting moment – suddenly, the scale of the journey ahead is being revealed and it can become a little overwhelming. Now more than ever, the new skills must be practiced in order to become natural. While our students never cease to inspire us with their progress, it is a good time to have a little extra help on hand.

Last week, Newport String Project parents were invited to the MLK center to discuss the importance of practice. Using the metaphor of an iceberg, we talked about how students that show up at class reap the rewards at the “tip of the iceberg”, but that access to the richest rewards of learning an instrument are “below sea level” and only come with consistent and healthy practice. We explored some strategies and discussed the challenges of already overstuffed family schedules. Still, it was an excellent first step in brainstorming ways to continue learning and ritual beyond the classroom.

After a nuts-and-bolts week of drilling skills with students and outlining practice strategies with parents, it was more than time to take a step back and remember the big picture… Fortunately, we had a visit from an extra special group of young musicians who could put the conversation into perspective.


On Monday, the students, families and friends of the Newport String Project gathered at the MLK Center for a community dinner. A wonderful feature of its community programming, the MLK Center regularly hosts community dinners and generously offered to host a dinner for families enrolled in the Newport String Project. As families sat down to delicious plates of pasta (thank you Chef Jamie!), it was a special treat to introduce a group of visitors from our parent organization Community MusicWorks in Providence. Longtime CMW parent/board member/volunteer extraordinaire Linda Daniels was on hand to share her perspectives on being the parent of a young musician. The centerpiece of the evening was a performance of a Telemann 4 Violin Concerto by Andrew, Alana, Heather and Jessenia – all members of Community MusicWorks’ innovative Phase II teen youth leadership program. To witness this quartet in action of course demonstrated the importance of long-term commitment to learning an instrument, but it was also a beautiful reminder of the way that music is an oral tradition that can connect people from different communities.





Afterwards, our students were inevitably wowed by these cool teen violinists. Violinist Connor shook his head anticipating that it might take a long long time to get “that good”. Another violinist Juan put down his cupcake and declared emphatically that the Telemann was “INCREDIBLE”. We couldn’t agree more!


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In the Classical Style – Quartets at the Redwood on March 22nd


The Newport String Project returns to the Redwood Library for a program of masterworks for string quartet by Haydn and Mozart. From rollicking rhythms to luscious largos to delectable dissonance, this program has a little something for everyone. Violinists and Newport String Project directors EmmaLee Holmes-Hicks and Ealain McMullin will be joined by guest artists Jesse Holstein, viola, and Megan Koch, cello. Call 847-0292, ext. 112, to make a reservation.

Join us on March 22nd for Tune In! at 2.15pm and Performance at 3pm.

Franz Joseph Haydn – String Quartet in D Major, op. 76 no. 5 “Largo”
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – String Quartet in C Major “Dissonance”, K. 465

Admission is by donation.

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Images from Inspired by Folk at Ochre Court


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Many thanks to Jan Armor and Eric Hovermale from the Newport Photographers Guild for these images!

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Paper Violin Building – the 2015 edition

One of the highlights of the pilot season was when our first pioneering group of Newport String Project students created cardboard violins and violas in collaboration with their parents. (Read more about the Paper Orchestra here.) This week, it was the turn of our new first year students and their parents! This is just the only the beginning of the road for the paper violins – check back soon for updates… Many thanks to NSP parent Katie Bendl for capturing these images for us!

cardboard pieces 7  9 13 8 16    1014 1211  painting18 2519 2421 23  violins on shelf

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Inspired by Folk – music from around the world for violin and piano

Join the Newport String Project for a musical voyage around the world! Travelling from America to China to Europe, this concert will feature chamber music for violin and piano, by composers who have been inspired and influenced by folk music.

The program includes works by Coleridge-Taylor, Ward, Wang, Bartok and de Falla. Newport String Project directors and violinists, EmmaLee Holmes-Hicks and Ealain McMullin will be joined for this special program by guest artists Lisa Barksdale, violin and Jeff Louie, piano.

Lisa and Jeff

The concert will take place at Ochre Court, Salve Regina University on February 7th. Join us for Tune In! at 6:45pm and Performance begins at 7:30pm.

Admission is by donation.

(Passports/suitcases not required!)

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Highlights from Serenade

2010 copyright and iptc info  2010 copyright and iptc info 

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Many thanks to Jack Renner for these images!

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Serenade – String trios by Beethoven, Schubert and Kodaly

Serenade photo

The Newport String Project invites you to our first concert of 2015!

On Sunday January 25th, we will be setting up our music stands in the beautiful Hawes room at Trinity Church for “Serenade”, a program of perennial favorites and hidden gems for string trio by Beethoven, Schubert and Kodaly. We are delighted to be joined by returning guest artists Annalisa Boerner, viola and Heath Marlow, cello.

Join us for Tune In! at 3.15pm and Performance begins at 4pm.

Admission is by donation.

Look forward to seeing you there!

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