WAYS program helps advance young string players for free

Local News

"I never had opportunities like this when I was a kid, growing up here in Warren and I wanted to make sure that the children who wanted these opportunities had the opportunities available.”

WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – A program in Warren is giving kids the opportunity to advance their music skills — for free.

The Warren Area Youth Symphonette, also known as WAYS, is a program designed to help kids in sixth through twelfth grade who play string instruments.

“Cultivating equity in our community is really something that’s important to my heart,” said Rachel Dunn, president of the board for WAYS. “I never had opportunities like this when I was a kid, growing up here in Warren and I wanted to make sure that the children who wanted these opportunities had the opportunities available.”

Dunn said she started raising money in June for the program, then they were able to hire a violin instructor to meet with the kids once a week.

“They do a warm-up when they come in. They tune their violins and then it’s kind of like, we’re playing. She puts the music in front of you and she starts,” Dunn said.

One of the requirements to join is the kids have to have at least one year of lessons already done. This way, the students know the basics when they join.

“It’s a beautiful instrument and I really like it because I kind of express myself while I’m playing it and I really enjoy it,” said Natalie Workley, who is in seventh grade.

“I like how we’re a smaller group and how even though we’re small, we’re able to make a big influence,” said Jibril Jackson, another seventh grader.

There are currently seven kids in the program. On Monday, the kids had their first performance.

Dunn said right now, they have six violinists and one viola player. She would like to welcome other string instruments into the program as well.

Anyone interested in joining the program can fill out an entry application on the WAYS website.

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