The After School Arts Program in Washington, which serves Northwest Connecticut, has received a $6,500 grant from the Woodbury-Bethlehem Community Music Foundation in support of its Music For the Schools Program.

The funds will be used to host four in-school interactive concerts for 1,675 students on April 7, 2020 at the newly renovated Nonnewaug High School Auditorium in Region 14.

Twenty-five students from ASAP!’s Interdistrict Strings Project will perform side-by-side with twenty Waterbury Symphony Orchestra musicians lead by WSO Music Director and Conductor Lief Bjaland, who is celebrating 25 years as maestro.

Leading up to the concerts, ASAP!’s Interdistrict Strings students work for four months with professional musicians from WSO.

Violinist and lead teacher Lisa Laquidera, cellist Mary Costanza and violinist Claudia Hafer-Tondi guide students in strengthening their playing techniques and learning new music to be performed.

Students from across the state collaborate and work towards a common goal in preparing for Music for the Schools concerts.

The culminating side-by-side performances provide a rare chance for the students to be mentored by working musicians and to participate in a large scale professional performance.

Dr. Joseph Olzacki, Region 14 superintendent, and Jason Bouchard, director of fine arts at Region 14, were instrumental in bringing these concerts to Region 14.

In preparation for the concerts, and to expand on the educational experience, ASAP! provides curriculum guides for teachers to share with students.

The guides are intended to connect the music to be performed with relevant history lessons, social studies, music and art.

Teachers may integrate the information into their subjects making the concert experience for the students more accessible and relevant.

ASAP! is a social profit arts organization that reaches 9,000-plus children a year throughout Connecticut.

For more information or to register for Interdistrict Strings Project, visit www.asapct.org or call 860-868-0740.

Participants must have a minimum of one-year experience playing a string instrument and the ability to read music.

Space is limited per instrument and early registration is encouraged.