An educational program of the Great Lakes Center for the Arts



Dorothy Gerber Strings Program


800 Bay Harbor Dr.

Bay Harbor, MI 49770


Dr. David Reimer, Music Director


  • Facebook

Thank You To Community Partners

The DGSP is grateful to the Charlevoix County Community Foundation for their support in providing scholarships for students interested in individual lessons.

© 2020 Dorothy Gerber Strings Program


The story behind the Dorothy Gerber Strings Program

The First Note

In 2000, Gay and Peter Cummings were approached to see if they would help support music education for the children of Northern Michigan to study stringed instruments. In this effort, children would be able to receive at no-charge, lessons during the school day.  Before this time this option was not available to area youth.  Accepting this challenge, the Dorothy Gerber Strings Program was created, named in honor of Gay Cummings' mother Dorothy who with her husband Daniel founded Gerber Baby Foods.

Teach in Harmony

Since its inception, the program has evolved to include string classes, individual lessons including the Suzuki Method, the Dorothy Gerber Youth Orchestra ad the DGSP Summer School of Music.  The Cummings Quartet was established in 2017 to act as mentors/models to students wishing to work on their craft at a higher level. In 2018, students competed in a Practice Olympics and in 2019, March Madness spurred them on to greatness. Ensembles have performed throughout the community to share with everyone the talent and dedication of the student's efforts.   

The Future Sounds Good

As it embarks on its 20th year, the Dorothy Gerber Strings Program is proud to announce that it is joining the Great Lakes Center for the Arts as a core educational program of the Center. 

The Dorothy Gerber Strings Program (DGSP) has provided exceptional locally-based strings music education for area youth since its inception in 2000. The program is a celebration of the legacy of Dorothy Gerber, made possible through the support of her daughter Gay Gerber Cummings and her children, and provides students across Charlevoix, Emmet and Antrim counties the opportunity to study violin, viola, cello, and bass. 

About the Gerber Products Company

Gerber was founded in 1927 in Fremont, Michigan, by Daniel Frank Gerber, owner of the Freemont Canning Company, which produced canned fruit and vegetables. At the suggestion of a pediatrician, Gerber's wife, Dorothy, began making hand-strained food for their seven-month-old daughter, Sally.  Recognizing a business opportunity, Gerber began making baby food. By 1928 he had developed five products for the market: beef vegetable soup and strained peas, prunes, carrots, and spinach. Six months later, Gerber's baby foods were distributed nationwide.

Has the Dorothy Gerber Strings Program impacted your student? Tell us your story!