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Orchestra camp tunes love of stringed instruments | News

MOREHEAD CITY — Sounds of violins, cellos and other stringed instruments could be heard echoing through the halls Tuesday at First Baptist Church in Morehead City.

It’s part of the 2022 String Orchestra Camp, sponsored by the church’s Music and Arts Academy.

This is the second year the church has offered the camp, and 27 students ranging from elementary to high school age traveled from places like Maysville and New Bern to join with county children to participate.

Cello players, from left, Jubilee Kot of Beaufort and Cedar Eldredge of Maysville learn a piece of music Tuesday during 2022 String Orchestra Camp, held at the Music and Arts Academy at First Baptist Church in Morehead City. (Cheryl Burke photo)

With no orchestra programs offered in Carteret or Craven counties, many of the students said they take private lessons, but rarely get an opportunity to perform with others.

“I’ve done private lessons for 10 years,” Maggie Murray, 15, of Beaufort, a violin player, said. “I heard about the camp last year and I wanted to play with other people. It’s fun.”

The culmination of the camp will be Friday, when students perform a free concert for parents and the community at 12:30 pm

Many of the students participating in the camp also attend the Music and Arts Academy, taking lessons from Dee Braxton-Pellegrino of Ayden. The string and orchestra instructor travels each week from Ayden to teach.

“The nearest string programs are in Jacksonville and Greenville and there’s nothing for kids in Carteret and Craven County. There are plenty of kids interested in playing strings, and it’s sad there’s no program in Carteret County,” she said. “It’s sad because they used to have such a thriving orchestra program in the county. I can’t help but think there are people out there who would be interested in starting one again. I would like to see more adults get involved and start a community orchestra.”

Donna Wolfe of Morehead City, a parent helping oversee the camp, too, said she would like to see a community wide orchestra.

“We want this to become more for our county,” Wolfe, a home school parent, said. “I play violin along with my child. I watch her growing and I’m growing with her. My son plays piano, so he’s not in this camp, but he is part of the academy.”

The camp is featuring group instruction at all levels for violin, viola, cello and string bass. It is also covering music reading, solo technique and ensemble playing.

Camp clinicians include Eulalia Ayers VanFosson, violin and viola instructor from Pitt County; Barbara Salter Gates of Fayetteville, a member of the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra and several other string quartets and ensembles; and Chris Ellis of Greenville, a member of the Tar River Symphony Orchestra and concertmaster of the Barton College/Wilson Symphony.

Braxton-Pellegrino said she hopes the camp stokes a love for music and orchestras in the youth.

“The thing about stringed instruments is they were designed to be played in a group,” she said. “So when you have kids taking violin lessons and they play solo, it’s not what the instruments were designed to do. We were made to play in an orchestra.”

She added that she hopes the students gain a broader perspective of music by bringing clinicians to teach.

Elizabeth Peluso, 14, of Bridgeton, was among the students who traveled to attend the camp.

“I really enjoy doing the camp,” she said. “I learn a lot and it’s fun to get to play with other kids.”

Those wanting more information about the Music and Arts Academy or creating a community orchestra can contact Braxton-Pellegrino at 252-814-5321 or email

Contact Cheryl Burke at 252-726-7081, ext. 255; email; or follow on Twitter @cherylccnt.


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