Our Mission:


To transform the lives of children and families in Lawrence through music and violin instruction, performance, and service.


Our goals:


O Provide violin training to Lawrence children, with the focus on underprivileged and at-risk children 

O  Offer a learning environment that is both nurturing and challenging

O Help young people develop self-discipline, a positive self-image and a vision for the future

O Provide a high-level artistic and administrative staff

O Teach mentor and leadership skills and build healthy peer relationships

O Secure the financial resources for our programs to flourish

O Network and provide performance opportunities for the students

O Foster the studentsí desire and ability to give back to their community

Who Are We?


Through violin lessons, children have achieved a skill they never dreamed of and have had performance opportunities that have enriched their lives.


Our Lawrence violin program began as a pilot program in 1998 with three students at the Community Day Charter Public School (CDCPS) in Lawrence, MA. From that time, several hundred children have participated in a successful violin after-school program called Community Strings that enriches the in-school violin lessons and provides violin group (Tuesday, Friday & Saturday) classes and performance opportunities for children, ages 6-18, in Lawrence. Community Strings currently serves children in Community Groupís CDCPS, Prospect School and the Arlington School programs. In addition, Up With Music provides weekly violin group class programs at UP Academy in the Leonard Middle School. Our Saturday classes also serve many of our older violin students who now attend high schools in Lawrence who continue to be part of our program both as students and mentors.


Our summer camp, Summer Strings, offers our students the opportunity to enjoy a wonderful week of fiddling, dancing, chamber music and art with a final performance at the end of the week. Our staff includes well-known fiddlers, outstanding dance, chamber music, and fine art instructors.Students may also participate in a variety of special musical activities throughout the summer to encourage them to continue playing over the school break.  


In 2010, Up With Music, Inc. was incorporated as a non-profit organization, its formal structure allowing for an effective focus on the needs of children in Lawrence and more collaboration with other Lawrence organizations.


This yearís program includes nearly 100 students from:


  • The Community Day Charter Public School, Prospect School, Arlington Schook as well as graduates of the program who attend other Lawrence high schools

  • UP Academy at the Leonard Middle School 

Primary staffing for the program includes:


  • Marcia Lier, Director of Community Strings, the principal violin teacher and co-founder, teaches both the in-school and the after-school group classes
  • Soohyun Choi, primary teacher at Esperanza Academy for Girls and UP Academy
  • Trudy Larson, Executive Director, and co-founder, brings her experience to teach and conduct the more advanced ensemble and to provide organizational and fundraising support


 Our Mentoring Program


Mentoring is at the heart of the Lawrence program and benefits both the students who share their abilities and those that receive their assistance. Mentoring offers leadership opportunities and important connections with the younger children. Over the years, many young musicians from the Merrimack Valley, the North Shore and students from the Northeast Massachusetts Youth Orchestra have mentored in the group classes. A growing development is the internal mentoring program where several of our older Lawrence string students now mentor and inspire the younger ones.




The name Community Strings was chosen for our CDCPS and Arlington students to convey the importance of building community through music and serving the community. Performances of these violin students during the past few years include many Lawrence venues and special events. This past year our students performed for the inauguration of the Lawrence Maor. Other events include Veterans Day celebrations, playing for the opening of a newly renovated building of Habitat for Humanity in Lawrence, performing on a float in the Saint Patrickís Day Parade, a performance at the Essex Art Center for the Antelope Festival, for Literacy Day at the Lawrence library, for the Neighbors in Need Turkey Basket Hand-out Day, for the Exchange Club, as well as playing at parties in the town and for nursing homes and an occasional wedding. This past summer, the students recorded background music and are heard on a documentary for the Lawrence Historical Society, called The Path: the Pemberton Mill.


Up Academy students perform for their school events and special donor events.



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