Music Tree hosting 3rd Annual Strings Festival in May

The Music Tree Prep School will host its 3rd Annual Strings Festival Sunday, May 17 at the school, 4833 Church St. in Zachary. Students will be given an opportunity to prepare a short program and receive a professional, but friendly evaluation.

Ruth Roland, Music Tree strings coordinator said the festival is open to all students of violin, viola, cello, fiddle, and bass. There is no age limit and private instruction is not a requirement. String players from any geographic location—including string players from the Greater Baton Rouge area, St. Francisville, Port Allen/Plaquemine, Denham Springs, and Zachary/Baker/Central as well as Mississippi – are welcome.

2019 violin participant Gabby Sparks.

“The Music Tree Strings Festival provides an opportunity for any string player to get feedback on their playing from a friendly professional,” Roland said. “It’s a very inclusive festival—anyone is welcome to enter, the time commitment is low, and the rewards are great.”

Roland said often the pro tips are “just the thing we need to take our playing to the next level.” The Music Tree realized a need for their own students and decided to extend the offer to other students. “It’s great for those who don’t have frequent individual instruction—an opportunity to play for someone who’s watching carefully,” Roland said adding “it’s also perfect for folks who study privately. The evaluator’s comments enhance and reinforce the private teacher’s ideas and encourage the student. It’s a win-win.”

Professional musicians and string educators Dave Hinson and Kelly Smith-Toney served as judges and evaluators for the inaugural festival in 2018.

Dr. Lin He, associate professor of violin at LSU and associate concert master of the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, served as the distinguished evaluator of 2nd Annual Strings Festival.

This year’s evaluator will be Dennis Parker, the Derryl & Helen Haymon Professor of Cello at LSU. (See more)

Participants can click HERE to register and pay a $20 registration fee by May 13. Roland said each student will be contacted with a performance time or to see if a specific time request is needed. The exact schedule will be announced the weekend before. Allow 30–45 minutes for the evaluation and 45 minutes for the workshop. List any time constraints on the form. The entire process should take about an hour. For more information, call (225) 654-1271 or email the staff at

*This information was updated Sunday, March 15 at 12:30 p.m.


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