LOWELL, Mass. – UMass Lowell’s String Project music education program is the nation’s best, according to the National String Project Consortium.
The program earned the Outstanding String Project of the Year award this month at the conference of the American String Teachers Association in Louisville, Ky.
The award came because of “the tremendous amount of work our students and staff put forth over the past year,” said John-Morgan Bush, the String Project’s executive director and a faculty member in UMass Lowell’s Music Department.
The UMass Lowell String Project was founded in 2001 to bring high-quality instruction in stringed instruments to Lowell’s public school students. The program has, in recent months, “grown by leaps and bounds,” according to Bush, thanks to fresh support from the Birmingham Family Foundation and Lowell Cultural Council.
The program was recognized by the American String Teachers Association for its leadership in music education and for engaging the community through music, which Bush calls “our dual goals.”
“All along, we’ve known how the work that we are doing is valuable – encouraging participation in the arts, building community in music – we didn’t need an award to remind us how important this is,” said Bush. “But the award does send a great message to our schools, the university and to parents in the region.”
The kudos come at a time when the public will be able to hear the String Project in action at two free events. On Saturday, April 5 at 1 p.m., the String Project will perform at St. Anne’s Church in Lowell alongside New York-based string quartet Quattor Mahogany. The concert is supported by a UMass Lowell Creative Economy grant. The church is located at 8 Kirk St.
And on Saturday, May 3 at 1 p.m., at UMass Lowell’s Durgin Hall, the String Project will offer its Spring Showcase, themed “A Little Party…” in celebration of the award. Durgin Hall is located at 35 Wilder St. on UMass Lowell’s South Campus; free parking is located in the nearby Wilder Lot.
In addition to the concerts, the String Project will be the focus of two other upcoming events.
Those attending the April 1 “Conversation with Meryl Streep” event at the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell will have the opportunity to hear musicians from the String Project perform in the lobby prior to the start of the program.