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 The spirited chirps of the violin, seductive bellow of the viola and soulful ballad of the cello will resonate throughout Ladner this month as string players from all over come together at the Delta Community Music School to take part in the Thrive City String Boot Camp.

The intensive two-week retreat for intermediate to advanced string players includes musicians from B.C., Alberta and as far away as Michigan, ranging in age from eight to 71.

A few promising string players from Delta will be in attendance, including 71-year-old cellist Judy Pierce.

“This is the first time I’ve played the cello for anyone but my teacher,” says Pierce, whose audition piece was a movement of J.S. Bach’s first cello suite.

Director John Littlejohn started the boot camp during the 2010 Christmas break to help his violin students get the hang of advanced techniques.

The camp quickly expanded to include viola and cello and is gaining in popularity among local string students.

“One of my favourite things about boot camp,” Littlejohn says, “is seeing how the lives of the students change. As they conquer their musical fears, I see their confidence and self-esteem improve.”

This year’s faculty includes the members of Infinitus, a nationally-recognized classical/hip-hop string trio, as well as violinist Jonathan Der from the Delta Youth Orchestra and violist Aaron Au, a former faculty member at the University of Alberta.

As an added bonus, worldrenowned violinist Herbert Greenberg will be travelling from the United States to work with campers.

Greenberg is a member of the violin faculty at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, Maryland. Many of his former students occupy concertmaster and principal positions in major symphony orchestras throughout the world.

The Thrive City String Boot Camp participants will be presenting three community concerts. On Saturday, July 21 at noon, the faculty will perform a solo concert in the parish of All Saints Anglican Church, 4755 Arthur Dr., Ladner, featuring works by Fritz Kreisler, Arvo Pärt, Zoltán Kodály, JeanMarie Leclair, Johann Hummel and more.

The second concert, also at All Saints, takes place on Saturday, July 28 at noon.

It will feature the boot camp faculty in a chamber music concert, which includes a special performance of Vivaldi’s “Spring” from The Four Seasons by guest violinist Herbert Greenberg.

The final concert features the true stars of the festival: the students.

On Tuesday, July 31 at 6 p.m. in the Ladner Community Centre, campers will present a string extravaganza featuring works by Gustav Holst, Antonio Vivaldi and Leroy Anderson.

Admission is free to all concerts, although donations are encouraged.

For more information on the Thrive City String Boot Camp, visit www.ThriveCityMusic.com or www.dcms.ca.

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