String ensembles to play concert

Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Aurora Strings to perform 7-8:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, at Northern Light United Church

Posted: Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Juneau String Ensembles, a new nonprofit umbrella group overseeing the youth groups Ursa Major, Ursa Minor and Aurora Strings, will host a concert featuring all three ensembles from 7-8:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, at Northern Light United Church.

A $5 suggested donation will be collected at the door.

The three groups include about 40 musicians total, ranging in age from 8 to 18. Ursa Major formed about eight years ago. Aurora Strings is in its fifth year, and Ursa Minor is in its third year. The groups are put together by audition. Music teacher Guohua Xia directs all three.

"It became easier to run these all through an umbrella," said board president Jennifer Shapland. "We wanted to set up a nonprofit so we can get grants and accept donations. The idea is to further the love of music and music education and bring in guest instructors and send kids to Fine Arts Camp or down South or up in Anchorage."

The 90-minute concert will showcase each group, as well as combinations of all three. The three groups will also team up for one or two selections.

"The idea is to show people what's going on and advertise that there's this opportunity to study really hard," Shapland said. "Most of the kids who are in these string groups are nuts about music."

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