Township strings together band for amateur players


EAST BRUNSWICK – String musicians looking for a gig will have to look no further.

The township is organizing the Amateur String Players of Central Jersey, giving those who play string instruments a chance to perform with others.

East Brunswick Arts Commission members Bunny Gittleman and Joan Kupchynski are organizing the group in order to provide an opportunity for recreational musicians, adults returning to their instrument after years, retirees and young adults from 10th grade and above, to play in a casual setting for enjoyment and continuing education, according to the township.

The orchestra is accepting new musicians who play violin, viola, cello and string bass. No auditions are necessary.

The group will be supervised by Anna Braun, orchestra instructor at Hammarskjold Middle School. Braun is a past recipient of the prestigious New Jersey Music Educators Association Master Teacher award for her passion for music, dedication to students and ability.

Jeff Litt, supervisor of the recreation department, said the group, in its first year, is being run by the arts commission, but through the recreation department. The group is starting with only string players, but other types of instruments may be added in the future.

The township had a similar type of orchestra many years ago, Litt said, and it was Kupchynski’s idea to bring it back. After years of not playing, she picked up her violin and started to occasionally play with friends, Litt said. However, she realized that aside from infrequent get-togethers, there was nothing in Middlesex County for people like her “who just like playing,” Litt said.

“So she thought maybe it would be a good idea to have a group,” he said. “Everyone will improve, as well as have a good time.”

The song selection will depend on what musicians sign up for the group.

Practices are scheduled for Thursdays from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Hammarskjold Middle School, Rues Lane. The fee for a resident will be $100, while nonresidents will pay $150, and student residents $50.

The next scheduled date is Oct. 18. Anyone interested should contact the recreation department at (732) 390-6797.