Designed for young elementary students

Youth Community Strings Program

After-School Program - Launching with the 23/24 school year

Location: The Saint Paul's Baptist Church, 700 E. Belt Blvd. Richmond VA 23224

Level/Ability: Beginner, 2nd Grade Students

Start Date: August 22

Fee: Free! Supplies, instruments, transportation, and snack all provided at no cost for participants!

Meet The Teachers!



Caitlin Barry is Project Manager and Lead Instructor for the Richmond Symphony’s new Youth Community Strings program, which launches Fall 2023. A violinist and music educator, she brings nearly two decades of teaching experience to her position. Caitlin began playing the violin, learning the Suzuki method, at age five. She received her degree in Music Education from VCU, also completing Suzuki Teacher Training. She started teaching violin privately while in college and has run a successful Suzuki violin studio since. She has also had teaching experiences in both public and private school programs. Caitlin launched a sought-after violin program at Patrick Henry School of Science and Arts from 2015 through 2018. Previously, Caitlin taught Music Together classes for Richmond Public School Preschools, working with nearly 300 children each week.

An active performer, Caitlin performs with RVAStrings, an ensemble composed mostly of string teachers in the Richmond area. She also plays fiddle with her brother, singer-songwriter and frontman for the band AVAIL, Tim Barry. Caitlin’s two daughters are learning to play the violin. Daughter Grace has played in the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra Program for the last three years.

Funded in Part By
The James and Lucia O'Connell Fund for Classical Music Education
Pete & Sandra Chase


Youth Community Strings is an after school program for children who love music! Designed for young elementary students with no previous musical experience, children will be guided from the beginning of their musical journey. Through intensive music education, students will develop life skills that will help them grow academically, socially, and emotionally. Our program promotes civic engagement and social change through music making. Participants will receive a robust music education, learn to play an instrument, and find a sense of belonging through playing music. There is no cost to participate and all instruments and supplies will be provided!

Program Details

FREE to all participants. No previous musical experience necessary!

Meets from 3:30 to 5pm every Tuesday thru Friday after school at Saint Paul's Baptist Church.

Transportation is provided from Westover Hills, Redd, Swansboro, Blackwell, and Oak Grove Elementary schools to Saint Paul's. Transportation home is also available.

This year, our program is open to 2nd Grade students and all participants will learn to play the violin.

Violins and all materials are supplied.

A daily after school snack will be provided.

Performance opportunities throughout the year.

Capacity is limited to one incoming class. Register soon!

Why Participate?

Students will learn to play the violin and at the same time, acquire these traits and more:





Concentration and focus

Increased memory capacity

Time managements skills

Team playing skills

Improved coordination

Improved math skills

Improved reading and comprehension skills

A new language for self-expression

A sense of pride and achievement

Improved listening skills

Capable 2023

A Head Start In Musical Education & Appreciation

Our second graders will be given a head start in their music education by beginning at a young age. They are being introduced to the violin at a prime developmental time. As they grow into proficient musicians, they will have opportunities to hold leadership roles in their school orchestras and the skills required to participate in high level ensembles. The confidence and growth students experience in their music-making will transfer into all areas of life.


Community Building & Participation

Community! Families can expect to find a new sense of belonging within our program. Making music together naturally lends itself to community building. We will also come together for events and outings that support our musicians as well as their families. Students will have the opportunity to give back to the community through a variety of performance opportunities.



Friday, July 14, 2023

Application Deadline



Friday, July 21, 2023

Application Results Notification



Saturday, August 12, 2023 at 10:00am

Open House



Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Program Start Date


We are no longer accepting applications

Application Due: July 14th
Notification of Acceptance: July 21st

Interested in learning more about Youth Community Strings? Email us at
or call 804-788-1541 ex. 153

The Program

To support us monetarily, email us at In addition, we are also looking for string instrument donations, volunteers, and community allies.

Young Composers Seminar

With Damien Geter, Richmond Symphony Composer in Residence

Join acclaimed composer Damien Geter on the journey from inspiration to performance next season as he leads a cohort of young composers through a unique musical experience.


Damien Geter photo

 Applications are now open for the Young Composers Seminar   Learn More >