As it embarks on its 20th year, the Dorothy Gerber Strings Program (DGSP) 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 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.
DGSP offers strings classes for students fourth grade and older within regional schools multiple days per week including in Boyne City, Boyne Falls, Charlevoix, East Jordan, Elk Rapids, Ellsworth, Harbor Springs, Pellston, Petoskey, and on Beaver Island. With the support of the Cummings family, these beginner, intermediate, and school orchestra classes are offered at no charge to their families. While families are responsible for the cost of providing instruments, scholarship assistance is available. Individual lessons and Suzuki Method instruction are also offered at a variety of locations in the three-county region.
Students may begin as young as four years old in the Suzuki Program and lessons are offered through high school. Lesson rates do apply though scholarship assistance is available for those in need. Regular performance opportunities are provided for lesson students through solo recitals while advanced students may join the Dorothy Gerber Youth Orchestra for an ensemble experience.
“The Dorothy Gerber Strings Program is a natural fit with the Center’s mission to expand the reach of the arts and build strong educational partnerships in Northern Michigan,” stated Jill O’Neill, Executive Director of the Great Lakes Center for the Arts.
“We are grateful for the Cummings family’s years of support to provide accessible, quality strings instruction throughout the region.” Heather Russell, Education Director at the Center, shared that, “The school districts that host the DGSP are also those the Center partners with for its Next Gen matinee series and together we look forward to creating even more opportunities for youth to experience live performing arts.”
Music Director David Reimer added that “The partnership of the Cummings family and the Great Lakes Center for the Arts creates a strong foundation for the DGSP’s greatest asset – its teachers. For the first time, the teaching team now includes three full-time teachers, representing excellence and a diversity of skills and experiences, joined by the continued service of invaluable part-time teachers including Elizabeth Bert, Peter Tolias, and Beth Deininger. These are the artist-teachers who make a consistently positive impact on our community by teaching music to kids of all ages.”