performing ensembles

Community Music School

CENTERBROOK – On Tuesday, May 1, at 7 pm, nearly 50 string musicians will take the stage at Valley Regional High School in Deep River for the Community Music School’s String Ensemble Concert.  Ranging in age from ten to eighty-six, members of the multi-generational performance groups will play a variety of classical pieces, including “Serenade for Strings” by Tchaikovsky, “Sarabande” by Bach, “Golliwog’s Cakewalk” by Debussy, and more, all under the direction of Martha Herrle.  The concert is free and open to the public.

String Ensemble, a group of 42 intermediate to advanced players, are a rare breed of orchestra and quite possibly the only of its kind in Connecticut.   “There are many youth orchestras and many adult orchestras around the state but I am not aware of any ensembles where all ages are allowed and encouraged to participate,” stated Martha Herrle, conductor and founder of the group.

Herrle continued, “As a musician and a teacher, it is a joy to work with various ages and backgrounds, to have school-age musicians playing alongside adult members.  The String Ensemble is a very mixed bag of some very talented people  –  students, several teachers, an inventor, a physician, a veterinarian, an attorney, a pastor, even two professional opera singers – all who share the same passion for music.”

String Ensemble members come from several shoreline towns (and beyond) to rehearse together at Old Saybrook High School for 26 weeks beginning in September and ending just prior to the annual concert performance.  Compared to its modest start in 2002, with just four children and one senior adult, the orchestra’s growth is a testament to its all-inclusive policy of being open to all intermediate to advanced string musicians, regardless of age and with no audition requirement.


Herrle received her Bachelor of Music Education degree from Hartt College of Music, studying both violin and viola. She spent the following year studying string quartet literature at the University of Connecticut with the Laurel String Quartet. She is the founder of Goodwin Strings, a before-school group violin instructional program for 2nd and 3rd graders at Goodwin Elementary School in Old Saybrook.

She also presents the Community Music School’s weekly music program for the collaborative preschool students at Essex Elementary School and directs Kate’s Camp for Kids.

For more information, please call 860.767.0026