After two months of hard work, the Lake Oswego elementary strings program will perform for community members.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Instructor Eri Nogueria teaches her class introductory strings on their violins and violas.Tonight the Lake Oswego School District's Elementary Strings Program will perform its first concert since 2019.

The concert will be held at Uplands Elementary School's gymnasium and attendance is limited to family members due to COVID-19. The over 90 elementary students will divide into groups and perform three songs they have practiced since September: "Jolly Fellows," "The Salamander Samba" and "On A Swing."

The event is a chance for the students to showcase the hard work they have put into learning their new instruments.

"The majority of the students (started) not knowing anything, and not even knowing how to hold their instruments. But now they have learned techniques such as pizzicato … or playing a medley," said Eri Nogueria, the fifth grade violin instructor.

Nogueria said the first concert is always full of excitement, and students have been dancing in their seats from anticipation in the rehearsals leading up to the event.

"(My favorite part) is the excitement of having the kids perform, especially after this whole year that we were not able to have strings," she said.

In March 2020, days before the annual Strings Festival — a district-wide performance — the event was canceled due to the pandemic. The instructors and students were then forced to leave their instruments dormant— until now.

"We are definitely looking forward to building the program back … this is a very special year," Nogueria said. "We are very proud to be serving the community with this after-school program and concert. And we are happy we are able to resume the activities because this program is very traditional — many, many decades of programming.

After the concert, the students will jump headfirst into preparing for their next concert in March. The students will hone in on their technique and put more work into playing as a group.

"The first few months are all about learning the instrument. Now they can jump into more exciting things," said Nogueria. "We have big plans for this year."

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