Seeing a need for a community-based orchestra studio, seemed like just a pipe dream back in the spring of 2001. Having served in the educational school system for 24 years, a desire to open the eyes of a community that there was more to the performance learning process, Rebecca Windschitl embarked on what has become a truly unique experience for multiple communities.
With a simple box of broken stands, and a support network assuring that the adage “If you build it we will come” would surely win the hearts of many, the pure grit and determination of building something was becoming a reality. That is not to say that there weren’t overwhelming challenges with opening a business, but with people stepping in to lend a hand in their area of expertise, a star was born – the All Strings Attached Orchestra Studio, and a non-profit organization.
Opening its doors on the infamous day of 9-11, All Strings Attached was faced with a dilemma, where yet again, a helping hand extended itself to see that the dream would come to fruition.
Moving from the Carroll Armory for rehearsals due to the heightened military need, the public school offered the use of their music room twice a week, while a small studio downtown would offer the site for lessons. Originally designed for after-school orchestral instruction for students, slowly but surely became the pied piper effect for more than just that. One by one, they did come, and word spread. Soon adults wanted in on the action, and the inception of the mentoring program began. Herein lies the uniqueness. Adults were dusting off their clarinets and trombones from the closet, and lending a hand in assisting the students, sitting side by side with them as they volunteered their musical prowess, enjoying every minute reliving their own memories. Since those early days, struggling though they were, there were many ‘Mr. Holland’s Opus’ moments. Bringing together four and five-year-olds with 65-year-olds, joining in a universal language of music, the community began to embrace what seemed to be what the community needed.
Now, seventeen years in the making, and boasting a studio of nearly 170 members from 39 communities & 4 states, The All Strings Attached Orchestra Studio produces four seasonal shows a year, a Cantata, an annual tour, an advanced student recital, and Summer Showcase. The studio also collaborates with the Carroll Community Theatre to put on spectacular musicals every other year and assists with the Carroll Community Chorus. The studio has multiple performing ensembles that showcase the many talents on board. It houses the Carroll Area Symphony, Junior Symphony, Intermediate Orchestra, MiNioNS & Mentors, the ASA Big Band, and Wind Symphony.
ASA is supported through private donations & grants. It operates solely on volunteerism and is served by a board of business members.
There really is no word that describes this creation better than the word ‘unique’. It would behoove anyone to find an organization that had such a strong mentoring system, where education is happening non-stop. From the adults to the high school students, and the high school students sitting and mentoring the junior high age, and the middle school students caring for the newbies who are dubbed the ‘MiNioNS’. The proudest aspect of it all is the strong foundation the adult mentors have laid, and the students who graduate and return concert after concert to perform, have given such notoriety to this organization. They return ‘home’ where their hearts are filled each and every concert with love of music, and camaraderie of friendships. Everyone has a place and everyone serves a purpose. It’s a purpose worthy of recognition.