Has your child ever wanted to
learn to play 
the violin or learn to play the cello?

Come to Sherwood and be part of this

The Voices for Performing Arts Youth Orchestra is a once a week afterschool string orchestra program that gives 3rd – 12th grade students the chance to learn a string instrument!  We are based in Sherwood, OR as classes take place at the Sherwood Senior Center, but we welcome families from all areas to participate.  We have a beginner class for students without any experience – it is a small class size with lots of personal instruction on posture, technique, note reading, and sound quality.  Students can advance to the orchestra class whenever they reach that level of accomplishment on their instrument.   The instructor is a highly qualified string teacher with a Masters in Education and 25 years of experience teaching strings in both the public schools and private studios.   You will be amazed at the quality of instruction and positive motivation your youth will get while learning music with their friends!

Registration is open.

Sign your child up for your lessons NOW!


History of the Program

The Voices for the Performing Arts Foundation (VPA) began offering an after-school youth orchestra program in the fall of 2011 to fulfill a musical need in the greater Sherwood community since orchestra is not a class offered in the school district nor anywhere else in the city.  This program has served 3rd – 12th-grade youth in many surrounding communities as well including Wilsonville, Tualatin, Newberg, Tigard, and King City.   Our violin, viola, cello and bass lessons are given by an amazingly gifted director (on her 4th year with our program) for beginning, intermediate and advanced level instruction in a group setting.  Interested parents with children younger than 3rd grade have private lesson options – call to arrange this special opportunity!

To view some photos of past concerts, CLICK HERE

What to Expect

AUDITIONS:  No auditions are required to participate in this group; class level is a decision made by the director and parents together.    Beginning Strings is a 75-minute class for students with little to no experience (0-2 years). The Intermediate/Advanced Orchestra is a 90- minute class for students with 2 or more years experience. If you have questions regarding which Orchestra class to register for, please email STRINGS@VPAFOUNDATION.ORG to discuss with the director your child’s experience for accurate placement.


The student should bring their own:

  1. Correctly sized instrument(usually rented from a violin shop for correct sizing – bring your child with you to the shop!)
  2. Shoulder rest for the violinists and violists, rockstop for the cellists and bassists. (These are often provided with the rental.)
  3. Cleaning cloth(any small washcloth-sized towel will work)
  4. Rosin(often provided with the rental)
  5. Nail clippers (yes really!) 
  6. Music stand (portable)

VPA Director will provide them with:

  1. Music binder w/ all sheet music
  2. Pencil
  3. Digital tuner to use in class

ATTIRE:  Black polo shirts with the VPA logo are to be worn during all our performances.   They are $15 in addition to the tuition but students can reuse them each year if they still fit!  With the T-shirts, students are asked to wear their own black pants/skirt with black shoes and black socks for most performances.

TUITION:  The yearly tuition for this program is $400 for Beginning Strings and $460 for the Intermediate/Advanced Orchestra. We are hundreds of dollars less expensive than any other youth orchestra in the city, and the only one southwest of Portland.  Tuition covers approximately 39 events including lessons and concerts from late September (Orchestra) / October (Beginners) through May, making each session equivalent to less than $12!  Financial aid assistance is available, click HERE to apply.  Tuition should be paid in full by the second week of class with a grace period of one week.  All tangible items (binder, music, books) need to be withheld until this non-refundable tuition is paid.

VOLUNTEERING:  Parent volunteers are a large part of our program’s marketing team and their time and work is greatly valued and appreciated!   Parents work closely with the director to design and distribute signs and fliers, post on our Facebook page, help with setup and takedown of class equipment, and many other small but essential tasks.   Please let us know what your specialties are and what you may be willing to contribute.  We find the more everyone is involved, the closer knit our community becomes!

REHEARSALS:   Classes take place on Wednesdays after school in the large classroom at the Marjorie Stewart Senior & Community Center located at 21907 Southwest Sherwood Boulevard, Sherwood, OR 97140.  Students are expected to arrive on time and attend all orchestra rehearsals with no more than TWO absences per term for sicknesses – attendance is really vital for students to keep making progress along with the group.   Please notify the director by email or text BEFORE being absent. Regular home practice is encouraged and expected.   Parent attendance and involvement is greatly encouraged during our beginner orchestra classes.  If parents want to rent an instrument for themselves and learn along with their student in – this would be a great way to building relationships and increase student progress.  It is greatly encouraged during the Beginning Strings Class!

Beginning Strings Class (0-1 years experience)

  • 3-12th grade
  • Wednesdays 3:45-5:00 pm (75 minutes)
  • Class size: 5-15 students
  • Starting date: October 4th, 2017 – May 30
  • Tuition: $400

Youth Orchestra  (2+ years experience)

  • 4-12th grade
  • Wednesdays 5:15- 6:45 pm (90 minutes)
  • Class size 10-20 students
  • Starting date: September 20th, 2017 – May 30
  • Tuition: $460

PERFORMANCES:  Our students get many opportunities to perform around the city!  Past concerts have included the following events:

Bridgeport Village at Barnes & Nobel, Prelude to the Oregon Symphony at Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Sherwood Community Library, Sherwood Art Walk, the Onion Festival, Cornerstone Church Christmas Event, Sherwood Center for the Arts, and the prelude to Musical Performances of the VPA.   Students were even invited to observe a dress rehearsal for the Portland Opera!  The beginners can expect 3-5 performances a season, the orchestra performs between 5-8 times a season.  Most dates will be given at the start of classes, and others as early as can be arranged!


Mrs. Anna Mersereau  – please contact her anytime at strings@vpafoundation.org