LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – Lake County youth are lining up to join a new string music program offered by Clear Lake Performing Arts, made possible by a generous grant from the Lake County Wine Alliance.When CLPA’s Youth Education program was issued a grant of $2,500 from the Lake County Wine Alliance to offer no-cost lessons to aspiring students, the high turnout was totally unexpected.Susan Condit, teacher of the class, was amazed when more than 60 families from all around the Lake responded, wanting their children to participate in the program.A second class and another teacher were added to help accommodate the many students. Currently about 40 students, kindergarten through high school, are enrolled and many more are still on the waiting list.While initial efforts have been directed at playing the violin, CLPA is exploring expanding the program to include other stringed instruments.

For CLPA the effort is not entirely altruistic, since experience has shown that many students will graduate quickly into the Clear Lake Performing Arts Youth Orchestra.Under Condit’s direction, the CLPA Youth Orchestra has won acclaim for its performances at concerts of the Lake County Symphony, also sponsored by CLPA.John Parkinson, who serves as music director and conductor of the symphony, says it is crucial that these youth music groups prosper, since they will serve as “feeders” to his orchestra.“It’s like anything else in life,” he said. “We must prepare for the new generation to take the seats in the orchestra now filled by their seniors, if our orchestra is to continue to exist for the pleasure of future audiences.”

Andi Skelton, concertmaster of the Symphony, fiddle teacher and founder of the popular Konocti Fiddle Club, noted that interest in string music programs is growing.“Kids are finding out music can be just as much fun as “playing video games,” she said. “We thank the Wine Alliance for making this pilot program possible, and hope we will be able to continue this successful endeavor.”But with success has come problems. Interest in the program has far exceeded expectations, leading to a shortage of funding for more teachers and instruments.

People wishing to lend support to this popular program, either with donations or instruments, may contact Condit at , or CLPA Youth Education Chairperson, Andi Skelton, at or 707-279-4336.

—LakeCo News