Master cellist Andres Vera shares the stage with student musicians

Courtesy Andres Vera

Thanks to the second annual Artist in Residency program hosted by the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Society (MVCMS), dozens of Island student musicians studied with master cellist Andres Vera, and will join him on stage this Saturday at the Old Whaling Church in Edgartown.

“We’re thrilled to have this opportunity to welcome Mr. Vera to the Island,” Kim Baumhofer, MVCMS board member and youth programs coordinator, said in a press release. “Our greatest wish is that our young music students are inspired to play for years to come.”

Mr. Vera is a Grammy awardwinning cellist, performer, collaborator, and teacher, and has played with the Quartet San Francisco. He is a founding member of Cello Street Quartet in San Francisco. Mr. Vera performed on-Island in 2016 with the Quartet San Francisco.

The week-long Artist in Residency program allowed Mr. Vera to work with individual students, as well as student ensembles. He also visited Island elementary schools.

Funded by a grant from MVYouth, MVCMS’s Artist in Residency program is part of a three-year campaign designed to encourage and support new and continuing student musicians, the press release states. Additional funds from the state Local Cultural Council Program provides stipends for teachers and concert support.

The MVYouth grant also enabled the MVCMS to purchase 20 new violins and violas in 2016, and the Tower Foundation and Martha’s Vineyard Permanent Endowment have provided funds for instrument repair and maintenance.

About 60 violins and violas are leased to Island string students every year at no cost. According to the press release, the MVCMS is committed to removing barriers for interested student players. The nonprofit organization supports local music students with free loans of stringed instruments and scholarships for private lessons. Visit the chamber music society’s website, for more information.

The free concert at the Old Whaling Church in Edgartown begins at 4 pm on Saturday, April 8, and features Mr. Vera, local strings instructors, and students.