Carmel Magazine

Summer 2017

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South County Strings Connects Students to a Wider Wor ld B Y R E N E E B R I N C K S E ach time she watches high school-aged members of the Youth Music Monterey County (YMMC) Chamber Players mentor young orchestra students from Southern Monterey County, Dorothy Micheletti marvels at the friendships that evolve. "It's a really diverse group, but music provides an instant connection," says Micheletti, YMMC board president and interim executive director. Through its South County Strings initiative, YMMC serves rural elementary schools with limited or no resources for music education. The 25-year-old program offers low-cost instrument rentals and free group instruction in classrooms from Soledad to San Ardo to Bradley and beyond. Participants work with professional musicians and student mentors during the school day, which minimizes barriers related to scheduling, travel and family budgets. They also receive free or sub- sidized tickets and transportation to symphony performances throughout Central California. This academic year, South County Strings served more than 150 students in four schools. Many performed at the Sunset Center in April, sharing the stage with their older YMMC peers. "When the students come up here, they have their roles and they contribute. They're part of a larger world," says Micheletti. "South County Strings shows them that they belong, and those links come through music." To learn more about South County Strings, or to donate money or instruments, visit www.youthmu- SHORTCUTS MUSIC High school students in the YMMC Chamber Players group mentor elementary students in Southern Monterey County through the South County Strings initiative. 60 C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • S P R I N G / S U M M E R 2 0 1 7 Photo: Dorian Hanner

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