Strings In The Schools

kahului elementary string orchestra program

The MYPO has started an exciting, brand new after-school Beginning String Orchestra program at Kahului Elementary School. The program which is made available through the Makana Aloha Foundation, Hawai’i Community Foundation’s Anonymous Donor Advisory program and David and Alice Yamashiro, offers instruction on the violin, viola, cello and bass to students in Grade 4. While the program was initially meant for 20 students, 31 students signed up. Due to the overflow, MYPO attained individual sponsorship from community members to allow them to join MYPO’s Beginning Strings class on Saturday mornings. This, so that none of the students would be turned away, but giving all interested students the opportunity to learn to play a string instrument. Kahului School Principal, Sue Forbes and Music Teacher Beth Fobbe-Wills, the only full-time DOE Music Instructor, have both been extremely instrumental in launching this program for their students. Both immediately saw this program as gift to their precious students.

Classes, which are being held after-school on Tuesday and Thursday after-school, are being instructed by Iolani Yamashiro-Rahimi, Roy Binder, and former MYPO violinist, Matthew Golin. “As I stood before these beautiful and excited young faces on the first day, I began tearing up as a string program in a Maui County school has been a vision in my heart since the mid-1990’s. That was when I first learned that instruction on string instruments aren’t offered in any of the Maui County Schools. To see this finally come to fruition is miraculous as we’ve hit various roadblocks along the way. Yet, here we are, at a school where everything quickly fell into place thanks to Sue Forbes and Beth Fobbe-Wills. The students were extremely excited, and some looked at me in disbelief when I told them they would be able to try all of the instruments to see which they would want to learn. We are having a blast!” When asked if they were ready to put their instruments away to get ready to go home, one boy hugged his viola and said, “no, I’m not ready to go.” Another you girl told me she may have to move to the Big Island but she wanted to stay with her grandparents because she wanted to learn all about the violin.

Stay tuned for news about our first concert! Photos will be posted soon!