November 24, 2015

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

South Georgia String Project, Youth Orchestra Perform Dec. 7

VALDOSTA — The South Georgia String Project, a joint venture of the Valdosta State University Department of Music and the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra, will present its winter concert at 6 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 7, in Whitehead Auditorium. Admission is free of charge, and the public is encouraged to attend.

“All of our students and teachers are excited to showcase the hard work and progress made throughout the semester,” said Dr. Kristin Pfeifer Yu, who serves as co-director of the South Georgia String Project and master teacher with Dr. Lauren Burns Hodges. “It’s been truly enjoyable watching all of our students grow this semester … and this concert is just a snippet of the fun we’ve been having ….”

The South Georgia String Project provides an after-school music program where students ages 8 and older can easily access low-cost stringed instrument instruction. It also provides a valuable, mentored teaching experience for music students at Valdosta State University.

“The South Georgia String Project is unique, not only for South Georgia and this community but also students attending VSU,” Yu explained. “The South Georgia String Project is one of many opportunities for our VSU students to learn and perform as a training tool to prepare for teaching and performing music in the field. Just as our South Georgia String Project students start at a beginner level, the VSU students start as class assistants in an apprentice-style forum and eventually move into a class leadership position, working directly with a master teacher.”

Registration for spring semester South Georgia String Project classes begins at 5 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 20, 2016.

Class fees are $60 per semester, with a $120 maximum per family.

The South Georgia String Project offers technique classes, private lessons, and four levels of group classes for children and adults who want to study violin, viola, cello, or bass. Performances are held several times a year both on campus and out in the community.

First semester Explorer Strings students, those with no previous string-playing experience, meet from 5 p.m. to 5:50 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays. Second semester Explorer Strings students who meet certain criteria meet from 4:30 p.m. to 5:20 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays.  

Allegro Strings is an intermediate orchestra open to returning and/or experienced students without an audition and meets from 5:30 p.m. to 6:20 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Concert Strings is a string orchestra open to returning and/or experienced students by audition or recommendation of the director and meets from 5:30 p.m. to 6:20 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays.  

The Valdosta Youth Symphony Orchestra is a full orchestra for advanced students; placement and seating is by audition only. This group, which meets from 6:30 p.m. to 7:20 p.m. on Mondays, includes VSU and area high school string, wind, brass, and percussion students, as well as adult amateurs. Participating students must also play in their public school ensembles. Kellen Gray, assistant conductor of the American Prize-winning Valdosta Symphony Orchestra, leads this group.

Private instruction is available and recommended for all students, including those who wish to study piano. Weekly one-on-one lessons are arranged with a VSU student assistant. The 30-minute lessons cost $15 each.

The South Georgia String Project encourages the enjoyment of music and self-expression through the study of a musical instrument and actively seeks to provide opportunities for student leadership, parental participation, and involvement in the greater community. It was started in 1993 and originally offered on location at area public schools and taught by VSU professors.

“Now, 12 to 14 VSU students work in the program every year, and I am the faculty supervisor,” said Hodges, noted violist. “Our program has grown ….”

“We can’t wait for next semester,” added Yu.

The American String Teacher Association named the South Georgia String Project the 2011 National String Project of the Year.

Many South Georgia String Project students continue their stringed instrument studies in college. Some have performed with the Valdosta Symphony Orchestra.

Contact Dr. Kristin Pfeifer Yu at or visit to learn more about the South Georgia String Project.

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