• Vienna Summer Strings

    Making Music and Memories Since 1987

    Sponsored by the GC Marshall High School Band Parent Organization

    We are so glad you found us! This site will be disabled soon. Please visit us at our NEW WEBSITE: viennasummerstrings.com


    MISSION Vienna Summer Strings provides a fun yet challenging musical experience for the emerging musician. Participants will develop instrumental and ensemble skills which support the school orchestra program during the school year.


    PROGRAM GOALS Vienna Summer Strings prides itself on meeting the needs of every string (violin, viola, cello, bass) musician who participates. Musicians are placed in an ensemble of similar age and skill. Staff works diligently to group musicians in an ensemble that matches their skill level while providing a challenging environment for personal growth.


    HISTORY Originally called "The Greater Tysons Area Orchestra Camp", Vienna Summer Strings began in 1987 led by Connie Cross Fields, Marilyn Daggett and Beverly Winder, three (now-retired) FCPS Orchestra Directors. Their keen vision of the summer program was to help public school orchestra programs increase enrollment and retain students year to year. Since 1987, VSS has grown from 60 students to over 300 students each summer. Recent directors who have carried on the tradition are Teresa Maclin, Heather Yacovissi, Marci Swift, and Megan Pfiester.

  • Summer 2023


    June 26-July 14, 2023, weekdays (no camp July 3-4)


    Optional Extended-day Program Available at time of Registration (1:30-3:30pm)


    Thoreau Middle School

    2505 Cedar Lane

    Vienna, VA 22180


    Tuition for All Three Weeks

    (Prorated Tuition is not available)

    $390 Early Registration (On or before June 2, 2023)

    $415 Late Registration (After June 2, 2023)




    • All refund requests must be made in writing and emailed to viennasummerstrings@gmail.com
    • Approved refund requests made on or before May 26, 2023 will receive a full refund*.
    • Approved refund requests made May 27, 2023 - June 26, 2023 will receive a 50% refund*.
    • Refunds* will not be made after June 26, 2023 unless written medical documentation is provided and approved by the VSS Director.
    • Upon approval, please allow 3-5 business days for the refund to be processed.

    *All refunds are subject to a 6% processing fee.

  • Program Details

    What do they do all day?


    Beginning Level: Posture, instrument set up, note-reading, rhythm, eurhythmics, develop internal pulse, ear training.


    Intermediate Levels: Expand range, improve tone and pitch center, more complex rhythms and bowings, sophisticated harmonies/melodies, develop leadership and independence in the ensemble, greater understanding of music theory as it applies to the repertoire.


    Advanced Levels: Expand range, develop professional tone, understand conducting gestures, advanced music theory, music composition, exposure to chamber music, foster leadership and independence in the ensemble.


    There will be no formal audition for class placement. Placement will be determined by the following criteria:

    • Age/Grade level
    • Experience on instrument
    • Experience in an orchestra (group) setting

    Musicians are placed at a level where they will be challenged, but not overwhelmed.


    Musicians are closely observed during their first 2 days of participation. Ensemble re-evaluations are considered after careful observation and conference among the class instructors and Program Director.


    Sample of Daily Schedule:


    8:30 AM - Full Ensemble Rehearsal
    9:40 AM - Sectional (ensemble music is
    rehearsed in a small group)
    10:50 AM - Full Ensemble Rehearsal

    11:55 AM - LUNCH
    12:30 PM - Technique Class (performance
    techniques specific to individual
    instrument are introduced)

    1:30 PM - Dismissal


    1:30-3:30PM-Optional After-Hours Program

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    These are the most commonly asked questions. If you can't find the answer to your question here, please contact us (link in menu).

    How are the musicians grouped?

    Musicians are grouped by grade/age and ability. Occasionally, exceptions are made, however, placing elementary aged children in the middle/high school groups is not recommended, regardless of their advanced technique.

    Is there an audition for group placement?

    There is no formal audition for group placement. Placement is largely determined by grade/age. Instructors assess the musicians during the first few days and may recommend class movement to the Program Director after careful observation. Please direct any concerns about class placement to the Program Director.

    Can I mail in my registration and payment?

    All aspects of registration take place online. Please submit the registration application online. Payment will be in the form of secure online credit card payment processed by GPA, a performing arts company. If you have concerns, please feel free to contact the Program Administrator.

    Is lunch time part of the daily schedule?

    The daily schedule includes a 30 minute lunch time. Lunch is not provided. Musicians must bring their own lunch.

    Can tuition be prorated since my child will miss a portion of the camp?

    Vienna Summer Strings 2023 is a three-week program. Staff is hired and curriculum is planned accordingly. The 2023 session cannot be prorated or discounted for missed days.

    My child is a beginner...what do I need to do?

    Plan to attend every day. Every single day is packed with new material for all beginning musicians. Missing just one day of camp is like missing an entire month of elementary strings instruction.


    Obtain an instrument.The VSS mission is one of instruction and is not in the position of providing or renting instruments to participants. Please visit a local shop who can provide these services so your child is prepared with an instrument on the first day of VSS. We have a list of reputable shops we can share with you.


    There are a number of reputable business in our immediate area that will size your child for a proper fit and be sure they have everything they need to be successful. Internet, Ebay/Craigslist/Yard Sale and "box store" instrument purchases are strongly discouraged, as string instruments require an expert to qualify their play-ability. Inspection of proper bridge and sound post set-ups, string quality, and bow/hair quality are best left to the string shop experts who deal with these important aspects of stringed instruments on a daily basis. Instruments purchased from places other than an expert music shop are often in great need of repair. The instrument will require attention and you will need to visit a shop anyway and will spend even more money to get it into working condition for your child. Please contact us if you would like us to suggest a reputable store in the NoVA area. The shop will work with you as your child grows into the next sized instrument for the many years ahead of beautiful music!

    Can I obtain a receipt for my FSA?

    Please use your payment receipt and confirmation email (from VSS) for tax filing purposes. If you have a specific from that must be completed, it must be brought in person to the program directors DURING the program dates. Further requests for tax id, etc. should be emailed to VSS directly.

    Is transportation provided?

    VSS does not provide transportation. However, we do provide the option to sign up for the carpool list. The final list will be distributed via email to those who elected to be included on the list prior to the start of the program. It is your responsibility to make contact and set up your carpool.

    Is there a multi-child discount? Financial Aid? Scholarships?

    VSS does not offer a discount for families enrolling more than one child. Full payment is required for each child in order to register. Students seeking financial aid or scholarship opportunities should consult their school strings teacher or PTA representative to inquire about possible school sponsorship.


    VSS is proud to provide a high quality program. The hourly rate for the program is about $6/hour. Every class is led by highly qualified, licensed educators, (many with multiple degrees) with a low staff/musician ratio.

    What does the After-Hours Program Include?

    Participants will rotate among music-themed activities such as: arts and crafts; low-impact games & recreation; guided instrumental practice; snack time. Limited availability. Minimum enrollment of 20 per week, or the program risks being cancelled.

  • Parent Love

    Testimonials from Summer 2022

    "My son greatly enjoyed the camp. Well organized and an excellent value resulting in measurable musical progress. Wonderful guest artist performance."




    My daughter loved her time at VSS this summer. "She was going to quit violin, but now wants to continue after experience playing in an orchestra setting. You inspired her to finally practice and made it fun."



    "Instructors did an amazing job putting all the kids together in just three weeks! My son enjoyed the camp and he will return next year. Thank you!"




    "We loved our first experience and will be back next year thanks to the wonderful staff and learning in such a short period!"


    "Thank you to the VSS staff! This is one of the best coordinated camps ever. I love that my 13 year old was engaged, challenged, and nurtured while having fun. This camp reignited a love of playing and she was sad to see it end. Thanks!"

    "My daughter thoroughly enjoyed this camp. Who knew playing an instrument for 5 hours could be so enjoyable. The staff seemed to be enjoying themselves, too. Keep making music fun!"

    "Our son’s bass skills showed tremendous improvement and we really enjoyed the final concert. Thank you."



    "Thanks a million!! My kid really love the camp. And the concert was amazing! Will return next year" :)"




    "Thanks a million!! My kid really love the camp. And the concert was amazing! Will return next year" :)



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