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Home of United String Ensembles is a chamber music program specifically designed to support the string programs of the Oakland Unified Middle Schools. The goal of H.O.U.S.E. is to support talented young Oakland string players in their quest for excellence on their way towards participating in the Oakland Youth Orchestra under the Direction of Omid Zoufonoun.
The ensembles are chosen by the OUSD teachers. They receive 9 weeks each semester of ensemble coaching by professional Bay Area string players along with extra individual attention primarily during class time, with some afterschool sessions. Three Musicianship Workshops are held to provide opportunities for all the participants to meet, play for one another and work with special guests on furthering their musical skills. The Out of Bounds String Quartet has performed for them and given improvisation tips. Zack Pitt Smith offers Orff styled World Music experiences and Katrina Wreede introduces the students to composition fun. A final concert is held each year for the ensembles to perform their pieces for family and friends in the Panther Playhouse at Edna Brewer Middle School.