In 1998, Trudy Larson, a violin teacher and then Executive Director of NYSO ( now NMYO) and Marcia Lier, an art/enrichment teacher at Community Day Charter Public School (CDCPS) in Lawrence met together and shared a common vision to start a violin program in Lawrence. Starting with three children at CDCPS, the program now serves over 100 children each year. UWM. began in the fall of 2010 as a new non-profit corporation to direct and support Community Strings, an existing string program that had served children in Lawrence with the same staff and leadership since 1998.
In 2002, as more young violinists began to grow in playing ability we added a string ensemble at CDCPS to provide incentive for the more advanced violinists and give them more opportunities to perform. On Fridays, Trudy Larson helps conduct this group that is growing in ability and numbers. Community Group asked us to establish our program in the Gateway and Webster elementary schools where they felt it would fit best. In 2015, we began working with YDO to begin and help fund a new piano program there.
Our Lawrence strings program began (and continues) as a collaboration with Community Group of Lawrence. Trudy Larson, violin teacher (String director and chamber music director of NMYO) serves as administrator, grant writer and teacher; Marcia Lier, originally an enrichment teacher at CDCPS, serves as the primary violin instructor. Since our first year, several hundred children have benefited from our program.