“Stranger Strings” has happened as Rapid City area students get a “great bonding experience”

RAPID CITY, S.D. – From violas to cellos, the Rapid City Area Schools (RCAS) orchestra department performed Saturday in their 42nd annual Strings in Concert. In all, almost 750 string students performed as a part of the area’s string program for kids in 4th-8th grade.

The students performed movie favorites, fiddle tunes and standard classics, including some music from Stranger Things, since this year’s theme was “Stranger Strings, Chapter 2.” A group of high school string musicians kicked off the performance since their honor band concert in February in Sioux Falls was cancelled due to snow.

Stranger Strings:

“This year’s theme is Stranger Strings 2,” Bruce Knowles, string educator for RCAS, said. “Stranger Strings 1 was the year of the pandemic and it was canceled just a few days before it was due to go. So this is kind of cathartic for us and a bit of closure.”

Photos from Strings in Concert:

Growing over the years:

“The first ones that we did were over at what was Dakota Middle School at that time, now Rapid City High School, and we would have to build out and expand the stage and all of that,” Knowles said. “But we quickly outgrew that and ended up here at the Civic Center. The largest orchestra, the fourth graders, it’s about 360+ students. So these kids have been preparing all winter long — actually all year long.”

Why do you continue to put on Strings in Concert:

“It’s a great bonding experience for the kids. It’s the culmination of nearly a year’s worth of work every single year,” Knowles said. “It allows the teachers to figure out how we’re doing educationally, where the kids are in their level and how we need to tweak it. And it gives the kids closure too.”

Why is music in education important?

“Music is a great developmental tool for kids. It teacher them discipline, reading skills and problem solving,” Knowles said.

City Alderman Bill Evans, Ward 2, on music in education:

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