Fourth-grader awarded first-ever Community Strings Project scholarship

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A fourth-grade student at Guiteras Elementary school is the first-ever recipient of a Community Strings Project scholarship. Aela Mansmann was awarded the $420 Bethany Sousa Scholarship Tuesday night, during the non-profit organization's youth concert at Mt. Hope High School. She plays the cello.

CSP students had to fill out an application describing what they loved about their instrument, the name of their favorite piece of music that they've heard in their CSP class, and their favorite memory being in CSP.

"Aaela answered that she'd like to continue playing the cello because she loves her music teacher and dreams about being in an orchestra," said Cheryl Burns, executive director of CSP.

It is the first time the non-profit organization has ever awarded a scholarship, which will cover the cost of two semesters of music lessons and will be applied retroactively for Ms. Mansmann, said Ms. Burns.

The scholarship is named after Bethany Sousa, who, along with Bob Arsenault, current music teacher at Mt. Hope High School, spearheaded the creation of Community Strings Project.

The scholarship is funded by Brandon Lahoud, a former CSP music instructor whose full-time job didn't leave much room for teaching. Both he and Ms. Sousa are no longer actively teaching.

For most members, renting a violin costs about $200 a year, and the lessons are about another $360. However, the program is affordable for students who meet the criteria for subsidized instruction.

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