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!

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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

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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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Coming Soon – Kaleidoscope

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The Newport String Project is delighted to announce details of the second concert of its season. On December 13th, the project presents “Kaleidoscope” an evening of 20th and 21st century music for strings, percussion and electronics. The concert will take place at Empire Tea and Coffee, 22 Broadway, Newport.

Newport String Project directors and resident violinists, Ealain McMullin and EmmaLee Holmes-Hicks will be joined by guest artists Lauren Latessa, cello and Piero Guimaraes, percussion. The concert will feature dynamic, colorful and inventive works by Honstein, Prokofiev, Ravel, and Volness.

The evening begins at 6.45pm with “Tune In!” a pre-concert conversation with the musicians sharing insights into the process behind the music. Performance begins at 7.30pm.

Admission is by donation – all welcome.



MAURICE RAVEL – Sonata for Violin and Cello

KIRSTEN VOLNESS – Etoiles de Mer for cello, percussion and stereo sound

SERGEI PROKOFIEV – Sonata for Two Violins

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A season of gratitude and giving









“Like a tree, I’m standing tall…” is the opening line of a poem that is very familiar to the violin and viola students of the Newport String Project. It invites the students to stand with steadiness, flexibility and pride as they hold and play their instruments. It also serves as a gentle reminder about the importance of noticing the ground beneath your feet and finding your roots.

This idea has special relevance for us in the second season of the Newport String Project. This year, our focus turns towards strengthening the roots laid during the pilot year, as well as peeking skywards and trying new things.

At this time of year, we feel especially thankful for all the community support that has enabled the project to become more than a “seedling”. In that spirit, we would like to share some of the highlights of our second season so far…

Nurturing the spark

Jayden Connor playing

This fall, we are delighted to have expanded our educational programming at the MLK Center, almost doubling student enrollment. In addition to their twice weekly group lessons, our 14 continuing students (ages 5-10) now receive weekly individual lessons. While the group classes offer the rewards of being part of an ensemble, we have also noticed the eager anticipation with which the students ask, “Do I have my lesson today?” This one-to-one environment creates a unique space for each student to thrive.

And the community of student musicians is growing! Since October, thirteen new students (K and 1st graders) participate in a weekly group class called Music in Motion. Through storytelling, singing and movement games, the students are learning crucial fundamentals that will prepare them to participate in Paper Orchestra in January.

Building community connections


Our students recently brought their music-making into the community, performing as the opening act at “Roll Up the Rug”, a family dance workshop, presented in partnership with Common Fence Music. This high-energy event, featuring the Rusty Pickup String Band, drew an enthusiastic audience from all across Newport county for an afternoon of fiddling, dance and laughter. With more family workshops in store, we look forward to strengthening the connections between families throughout the community.

Enriching the concert experience

Bows in the Air

Launching with a memorable concert of quartets by Haydn and Beethoven, our concert season is off to a wonderful start and we look forward to bringing seven more inspiring concerts to Newport audiences. New this year is our “Tune In!” series of pre-concert events, enabling the audience to learn about the background and process behind the music, and to connect with our exceptional guest artists.

As the program continues to deepen its roots, your support will enable the Newport String Project to grow stronger and stand taller. We hope that you will consider including the project in your annual giving, as we continue in our mission to enrich community life in Newport through access to inspiring musical experiences for all.

With gratitude,

EmmaLee and Ealain

Newport String Project Directors

For further information on ways to donate, please click HERE.

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Duo of Versatile Violinists Feature in Newport This Week

We are delighted to share this article about the Newport String Project from Newport This Week by Mark Gorman.

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Highlights from the Rusty Pick Up String Band Residency

November was a busy month for us here at the Newport String Project! In collaboration with Common Fence Music, the Newport String Project hosted “Roll Up the Rug – an old time family dance workshop” presented by the Rusty Pick Up String Band.

Roll Up the Rug

To kick-off the fiddling proceedings, the young violin and viola students of the Newport String Project gave a rousing rendition of the Chicken Reel.

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It was a proud moment for the young musicians – made all the sweeter for their teachers by the discovery of this anonymous note after the event was over! (We have it on good authority that the viola students are equally as proud!)


This was followed by a fabulously energetic workshop of foot-stompin’, toe-tappin’, handclappin’ fun, led by master caller Jim Hicks, with music by Newport String Project director EmmaLee on violin, the endlessly energetic Peggy Holmes on keyboard and Common Fence’s own Tom Perrotti on guitar.

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And for some footage of the fancy footwork, click here to watch perennial favorite Seven Jumps!

If you missed the workshop this time around, fear not – the Rustys will be back on February 15th for another Community Dance at Emmanuel!

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Snapshot from the classroom

We are delighted to have expanded our educational programming to include weekly individual lessons for this year’s continuing students. This one-to-one lesson is a special time, when each student can shape their learning, focusing on what is inspiring to them and fully realize their strengths.

And while our students love their individual lessons, learning together brings a lot of joy. Here is where friendships are deepened and the classroom community is strengthened. Group learning is at the core of the famed Venezuelan music education system, El Sistema. One of the values El Sistema students learn from the beginning is that “As soon as you have learned something, it is your responsibility to teach it to someone else.” This practice of peer mentoring is one that takes many years to build but creates a deep sense of community among the students and is a reminder that music is an oral tradition.

The practice of peer mentoring is something we hope to instill in the students of the Newport String Project. In these clips, two of our students practice the skill through role play – taking turns being the teacher and the student. As you can see, while learning how to hold the bow is a serious and sophisticated business, there is still plenty of room for fun!

Part I

Part II


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