Portland Adventist String Orchestra

February 01, 2007 | Liesl Vistaunet

It’s the sound of the cello, the violin and the viola joining their unique tones and melodies to form sweet harmonies at Portland Adventist Academy (PAA). The school is proud to announce the “Portland Adventist String Orchestra.”

Under the direction of Rachel Ludt, a PAA alumnus and respected artist in Portland musical circles, the ensemble promises to meet the high expectations of the faculty and staff.

PAA principal Gale Crosby said, "We're blessed to have Rachel’s capabilities.” She has an impressive background in her field, but more noteworthy, a passion and “commitment to bring string education back to American schools” (a quote taken from her Web site, mysmilinviolin.com). Ludt is the founder of “My Smilin’ Violin,” a string education company, and through that has made an enormous effort to share the passion with fellow Adventists.

“The forming of this ensemble has been a dream of mine,” says Ludt. “I’ve been working on this for at least six years, and it’s so fulfilling to watch these students grow into fantastic musicians.”

The Portland Adventist String Orchestra is made up of 18 talented and diverse musicians. While the group does include several PAA students, the majority of its members attend other schools. In fact, one family travels more than an hour for rehearsals, held at PAA. The musicians include six home school students, an exceptional 9-year-old violinist, and even a few parents who fill in when needed.

Chair of the PAA music department Linda Neel says, “The string program is a significant addition to our department. I fully expect the group to grow quite large in a few years.”

Perhaps Brian Gosney, vice principal of finance and visionary for the group, said it best: “ Portland Adventist Academy is here to train heavenly ambassadors. This simply gives our students and our community another avenue to share God’s love.”