Pendleton summer strings program concludes with concert

<p>Peg Willis leads a summer strings class through the Oregon East Symphony. The sessions will conclude with a performance Wednesday at the Little Vert Theater in Pendleton.</p>

A performance featuring more than a dozen summer strings students will conclude a five-week program offered through the Oregon East Symphony. The students have been learning a wide variety of music, from classical to rock and roll and nursery rhymes to fiddle tunes.

The free performance is Wednesday at 12:15 p.m. in the Little Vert Theater, 345 S.W. Fourth St., Pendleton.

The performers, who include include mostly violin players entering the fifth and sixth grades and high school-age cello players, have been instructed by Peg Willis and Loree Tucker-McKenna. In addition, Jamie Moore of Boardman has served as an assistant with the upper strings students, said Cathy Muller, Oregon East Symphony programs manager. Symphony concertmaster Lisa Robertson also provided session instruction, Willis said.

The symphony has coordinated a summer strings program — typically in the form of a week-long camp — for about a dozen years in Pendleton, Muller said.

“We were sort of testing the idea of having the kids play weekly over a longer period of time rather than an intense week,” she explained.

The program falls under the symphony’s Playing for Keeps project, which began in 2001 and reaches 650 youths each year.

“We’re hoping to expand that program in the fall and start kids at a younger age,” Muller said.

The beginning strings program has been targeted for fourth and fifth graders. The goal, Muller said, is to work in conjunction with the Arts Council of Pendleton and offer a Suzuki String Instruction program to younger players through Starting Stings Sooner.

For more information about the Playing for Keeps music education project, contact 541-276-0320 or or go to


Contact Community Editor Tammy Malgesini at or 541-564-4539.

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