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Young Detroiters mixing today's sound with classical violin

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Members of Urban Stringz rehearse Members of Urban Stringz rehearse

This isn't your ordinary string band. A group of young musicians are mixing today's sounds with the art of playing the violin.

"A lot of my friends are like, 'You play the violin? That's so wack,'" says 15-year-old musician Morgan Young. But listen to the Urban Stringz II Youth Ensemble and you'll realize there's nothing wack about them.

Cecilia Sharpe is the manager of education programs for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, but she created Urban Stringz II on her own. "I had to give them ways to learn that they could relate to," says Sharpe. "My students were bored. They weren't engaged in the violin. They didn't want to play 'Twinkle, Twinkle."

But they did want to play hits from Lady Gaga and Motown and from that moment on, musicians like Young were hooked. "Urban Stringz opened my eyes to a new love for violin," says Young.

These young Detroiters play year-round, operating on virtually no budget. They even rehearse in the Sharpe's mother's living room. And they're performing at events throughout the city, showcasing their talent and confidence. "Those are real life experiences," says Sharpe. "Performance opportunities reaching other people."

The group is now accepting applications for its 2012 summer camp being held July 24 - Aug. 4 at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. Those interested in learning more can log on to

Upcoming performances:

Urban Stringz II Fundraiser
Wednesday, June 13

Jazzin' on Jefferson
Saturday, June 16

Boston Edison "Sounds of Music" Children's Concert
Saturday, June 30

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