The Venice Community Orchestra has joined with the Island Village Montessori School to enhance the K-9th grade charter school’s new string instrument instruction initiative. Under the arrangement between the orchestra and the school, the school will provide weekly rehearsal space at its North Venice campus, and provide opportunities for beginning music students to sit in and play along with them. The artistic director and conductor of the orchestra, Angela Navarro, will also collaborate with the school’s music director, Peter Simms, to plan programs and concerts that will entertain and educate the entire student body while providing the valuable experience to the string students to play side-by-side with seasoned performers.

At the formal kick-off to the joint program, the Venice Community Orchestra recently performed a program of classical works and a sing-along of holiday favorites for 200 of the school’s pupils and faculty. During the concert’s intermission, two orchestra players, violinist Martin Himmelfarb and flutist Jeanette Himmelfarb, donated a violin outfit formerly used by their son David, when he was a beginning player, to the school’s string training program. According to school executive director Kym Elder, who also plays cello in the orchestra, the string program, though only underway for a few weeks, has already attracted 18 violin students, three cello students and six guitar students, not counting the children who are taking private lessons. The demand has become so strong that the school has retained well-known Venice area performer and string teacher Karen Tuttle to instruct the new string students.

The Venice Community Orchestra was organized in 2011, by founder John Mabardi, a cello student, to provide a place for players of all ages and levels, from retired professionals to beginning amateurs, to come together to have fun making music. Today the orchestra is composed of 20 musicians who rehearse weekly at the IVMS. During its brief existence, one of its high-school age violinists was hired by the Venice Symphony Orchestra and an 8-year-old cellist was recruited by the Sarasota Youth Symphony. “There are no auditions required to join us, just the desire to enjoy making music together,” the retired corporate executive noted. “Our friendship with the Island Village Montessori School will be a wonderful experience for our players and the kids, both.”

Founded in 1976 and established as a Sarasota County charter school, the Island Montessori School provides individualized education for students from pre-K through 9th grade. In addition to its core curriculum in language, humanities, math and science, the school offers programs in art, music and athletics.

Kym Elder, IVMS Executive Director introduces the VCO to the audience
The children are full of enthusiasm in anticipation of the concert

Following a most recent performance by the VCO to kick off the joint program between the VCO and IVMS, Kim Elder accepts on behalf of the school, Martin and Jeanette Himmelfarb’s donation of the ¾ size violin that belonged to their son when he was 6 years old.

From left to right, John Mabardi, Founder of the VCO; Angela Navarro, Artistic Director and Conductor of the VCO; Peter Simms, Head of the music program at IVMS, Kym Elder, Executive Director IVMS; Martin and Jeanette Himmelfarb both amateur musicians with the VCO



Contact: John Mabardi, Founder VCO

941 350 0311