Fourth graders Aidan Baird (left) and Rowan Murdock are just two of 29, new string players in Moab. They will perform at their first recital on Thursday, Feb. 28 at the Helen M. Knight Elementary School gymnasium. [Photo courtesy Moab Strings Program]

The combined String students of the BEACON Moab String Program will give their first recital on Thursday, Feb. 28, at Helen M. Knight Elementary (HMK). The 29 third through fifth graders, from HMK and the Moab Charter School, will perform a number of pieces beginning at 7 p.m. in the school Gymnasium. In addition, two Grand County Middle School students, on viola and string bass, will participate in the recital.

The Moab String Program began this year and gives Moab elementary students the opportunity to learn violin, viola and cello. The Moab String Program is modeled after the elementary Mozart String Program in Colorado Springs.

The Moab String Program was originally conceived by Nanci Flesher, a retired public school music teacher from Colorado Springs, Colo., and Andrew Yarosh, the former executive director of the Moab Music Festival.

In seeking funding for the program, Flesher, who was already employed as a BEACON teacher at the HMK site, decided to approach BEACON about partnering with the Moab Music Festival to support the program.

The Moab String Program is now partially funded through a 21st Century Community Learning Grant, and an ASPIRE Kids Grant, both through the State of Utah.

The BEACON Moab String Program provides children a weekly 1 ½ hour class, and two string orchestra recitals per year.

In addition, through the partnership with the Moab Music Festival, these young string players will also have the opportunity for interaction with professional musicians.

Stephanie Dahlstrom, director of the BEACON Afterschool Program, is delighted with the program.

“It is an amazing opportunity for the youth of Moab to be able to be exposed to this high quality of musical instruction. We look forward to expanding the program to include more kids each year,” Dahlstrom said.

Flesher, the instructor of Moab Strings Program, also emphasizes the partnership between BEACON and the Moab Music Festival.

“We are able to provide young students with increased exposure to many genres of music as well as promote more involvement and participation in the wonderful offerings of the Moab Music Festival,” Flesher said. “Come and support the newest and youngest string players in Moab.”