Urban Strings: A different type of orchestra

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Urban Strings began with just two young girls at Champion Middle School. Now, 10 years later, it has 45 musicians at three different skill levels. And while the instruments may be the same as any other youth orchestra, this group is different.

The musicians come from every type of school: city to charter, suburban to private. And together, they make beautiful music.

This isn’t your typical orchestra.

“Well, you don’t see a lot of orchestras with predominately black members in them, especially those that are youth too,” said 6th grader Alexis Cunningham, “That was really attractive to me because it was people who look like me and share the same culture and experience and stuff and that’s not something I fully get at my school.”

From ballroom waltz to “Boogie Wonderland” to “Uptown Funk”, this group can play them all.

It’s not hard not to want to sing and dance when you hear them play.

“It’s a lot more fun because they are songs you can relate to,” said 9th grader Maya Anderson, “You can kind of feel the music because you’ve heard them before. I love classical music but it’s fun to play these songs.”

This summer, Urban Strings will go on a Southern tour through cities like Memphis and New Orleans, with the goal of showing others how to create a similar program. They are raising money now for that tour. You can find information on how to donate here.


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