In July 2021, ten students will begin studying junior string repertory to form the String Orchestra for Northern Neck Youth (SONNY). They have completed elementary lessons with the Strings Crewe, a program to teach violin, viola and cello to 6-12 year old students.

The Rappahannock Concert Association (RCA) sponsors both the Strings Crewe and SONNY. Christina Totton, will be SONNY’s Music Director. Ms. Totton formed a junior string orchestra on Okinawa with military dependents as its musicians. In addition to teaching viola and violin to Strings Crewe and SONNY students, she now teaches at her private studio in Gloucester called “String Bean Music Studio.”

SONNY is the second phase of a long range plan to form a youth orchestra by 2024, enrolling wind, brass, and timpani musicians from the region’s excellent high school bands. “Without strings, there can be no orchestra,” said Sue Nunn, the program director.

SONNY will present concerts in November 2021 and May 2022 at the Richmond County Elementary School gymnasium in Warsaw. “We are grateful for this rehearsal and performance space,” said Nunn. “RCA gave public concerts in the gym from 1983 – 2008, and we remember the good acoustics and welcoming school officials there. Warsaw is a central location for our parents who have to drive long distances to lessons and rehearsals.”

Lessons and instruments are free thanks to generous support from individuals and state and local foundations: “Strings without Borders” managed by the Mason Violin Shop in Fredericksburg; River Counties Community Foundation; Gloucester Community Foundation; Servetus Endowment Fund; Virginia Commission for the Arts/NEA; Cole Charitable Trust; Campbell Memorial Presbyterian Agape Fund; Northern Neck Orchestra; Rappahannock Music Study Club; and Classics for Kids Foundation.

For more information about the Strings Crewe and SONNY, contact Sue Nunn at suenunn41@gmail.com.

Rappahannock Concert Association Strings Crewe students graduate to the String Orchestra for Northern Neck Youth