Conductor Clark Potter asked the Rapid City sixth-grade string orchestra to demonstrate the dynamics in the song "Medieval Wars" during the Strings in Concert rehearsal Friday. The violins, cellos, violas and basses gradually shifted from soft to loud as Potter pronounced the volume indicators from pianissimo through fortissimo.

"We want to provide the listener with the most interesting music we can," Potter said to the students.

A viola professor from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Potter is the guest conductor for the 33rd annual Strings in Concert, performed by Rapid City public elementary and middle school string players.

"They're eager to learn and play together," Potter said. "It's going to be a great show."

About 900 students will put on two performances during Saturday night's concert at the theater in Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, according to Bruce Knowles, one of the seven string teachers who instruct the students and plan the concert. Knowles teaches students at Knollwood and South Park elementary schools.

"We do it because it gives the students a chance to play together," Knowles said.

The fourth-graders will play alone, and the seventh- and eighth-graders will play together during the 6 p.m. performance. The fifth-graders will play alone as well as the sixth-graders, and the seventh- and eighth-graders will play together during the 8 p.m. performance.

"They are gaining a lot of confidence with this performance," Knowles said. "It's a valuable concert experience."

Sarah Stanley, a sixth-grader from South Middle School, was not nervous.

With her violin in hand, she explained that if she messes up during the performance there are plenty of other students to cover her mistakes.

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Sarah said Saturday's show will be her third year participating in the concert. She started playing violin in the fourth grade.

"It's fun, and it gives me something to do," Sarah said.

Tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for children and can be bought at the civic center box office or online at

Contact Holly Meyer at 394-8421 or



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