String Education & Outreach



The String Outreach Program is an educational program supported by the Friends of Music (under the auspices of the Foundation for Grossmont & Cuyamaca Colleges) to further string education programs in San Diego’s East County Middle and Senior schools.

PURPOSE: With many areas encompassing San Diego’s East County providing music education beginning at the Senior School level (Grade 9), e.g., Santee School District, the string outreach program is designed to aid the East County High School music instructor in providing much needed string pedagogy to string students. With the majority of instrumental instructors not proficient in playing a string instrument, the members of the Grossmont Symphony String Quintet (professional artist/teachers), provide much needed instruction on how to better perform required orchestral literature for music festival participation and school concerts.

FORMAT: Each workshop performed by the members of the Grossmont Symphony String Quintet includes:


  1. mini string performance by the string quartet (@5 minutes) to allow students to assess the musical abilities of the string quartet
  2. mini ensemble performance by the school’s string orchestra to allow the members of the string quintet to assess the ensemble's abilities
  3. break-out sessions--each string principal taking their respective string sections to a different room to work on specifics as they see fit (@20 - 30 minutes)
  4. tutti (students/quintet) rehearsal with string orchestra (String quintet musicians sitting in the middle of each section playing along with your students)—as conducted by the school orchestra conductor.

All instrumental music instructors in previous years have found this type of format highly successful in motivating the student to perform required literature at a more proficient level. The workshop experience ultimately leaves the student with a greater sense of confidence in practicing/performing musical literature.

With the majority of middle and senior high school students unable to afford private lessons, a minimum of two site visits per academic year is recommended. COST: $400 per workshop

SCHOOL PROGRAMS: La Mesa MS, Valhalla HS, Helix HS, Grossmont HS, Patrick Henry HS, West Hills HS, San Diego School of Creative & Performing Arts.
You can help by contacting:


Dr. Randall Tweed, Director of Choral/Orchestral Activities
Grossmont College Music Dept.
(619) 644-7298


You’re invited to click on the hyperlink below to view a Video Demonstration of Grossmont College’s String Outreach Program.

WMA format                              MP4 format


How can you help? Please contact the Foundation for Grossmont & Cuyamaca Colleges (619-644-7109) to donate to the Friends of Music to help continue this important program in our East County Schools, or click on the hyperlink below:


Friends of Music is under the auspices of the Foundation for Grossmont and Cuyamaca Colleges, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. Any donation to Friends of Music is tax-deductible (Tax ID #452692818) to the extent allowable by law.


Grossmont Symphony String Quartet


Ondrej Lewit, first violinist with the Grossmont Symphony String Quintet, and Concertmaster of the Grossmont Symphony Orchestra. Ondrejwas born in Prague (Czech Republic), Ondrej Lewit began studying violin at the age of seven at Elementary School of Music, later continued at State Conservatory of Music (BA) and at Academy of Performing Arts – HAMU (MA). As a member of Camerata Pragensis, Camerata Nova, concertmaster of J. Suk’s Chamber Orchestra and especially as a first violin of Cuartetto Cassoviae played in many cities in the European continent and made recordings for the Czechoslovak Radio and Television, Italian RAI and recording companies such as Supraphon, Opus and Edigsa. As a guest concertmaster he played with orchestras in Barcelona, Sabadell, La Coruna, Bilbao and Valladolid. From 1988 to 1992 he was an Eastern Philharmonic Orchestra member (1992 an associate concertmaster), chamber music player and a faculty at Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, NC. Between 1995 – 1997 the Spanish Youth Orchestra and Catalonia Youth Symphony invited him to work with them as a violin teacher and a chamber music coach during their summer camps. In 2000 Ondrej moved to Barcelona where he played until 2003 as concertmaster with the Liceo Opera Theatre Orchestra. He was frequently invited as a guest concertmaster by Valles Symphony (Sabadell), Galician Symphony (La Coruna), Bilbao Symphony and Castilla-Leon Symphony (Valladolid).
In 2005 – 2010 was appointed concertmaster of Baja California Orchestra and violin teacher at Conservatory of Music in Tijuana. Since 2004 he has maintained a private violin/viola studio in San Diego, where he is frequently performing with Encore Trio, Violin and Piano Duo Yrion with Irina Bendetsky, Quartetto Sorrento and Sorrento Camerata. 

Elizabeth Valdez, second violinist with the Grossmont Symphony String Quintet , and Principal Second Violinist of the Grossmont Symphony Orchestra. Elizabeth Valdez is passionate about music! The granddaughter of an accomplished pianist and folk harp maker, her musical roots run deep. Through early private study with Lillian Hester and playing with the Helix High School Orchestra and Honor Orchestras, it was seemingly effortless for Elizabeth to create a foundational love for music. Her abilities continued to flourish in local orchestras, including the USD Symphony, Palomar Symphony Orchestra and the Grossmont Symphony Orchestra. Her talents and eagerness to learn from mentors have advanced her to the professional level that she now enjoys with the Grossmont Symphony Orchestra and Grossmont String Quintet. With over 10 years volunteering as Principal 1st Violin for the CCT (Christian Community Theatre) Orchestra, she has performed in hundreds of musical theater productions. Elizabeth has also taught privately from her home and coached numerous string players throughout East County. With a strong developed style of playing she has naturally progressed into a leadership role. Performing with her home church vocal band and in several local church orchestras as well as co-founding Sunrise Strings (for weddings and parties), Elizabeth continues her quest to grow professionally and is eager to learn from her classically trained peers in the String Quintet. Elizabeth is currently active in providing a new music program for grades K-6 at Murdock Elementary School in La Mesa. Elizabeth is very grateful to her husband and two boys for their support of her musicianship.


Francesca Savage, violist with the Grossmont Symphony String Quintet, and Principal Violist of the Grossmont Symphony Orchestra. Francesca Savage studied viola at San Diego State University. She continued her studies for 2 years in Mexico City with former Berlin Philharmonic violist, Herbert Froelich.  After returning to San Diego, she studied privately with Janos Negyesy at UCSD and with violin pedagogue Michael Tseitlin.


Through her career she has performed with many ensembles, including the San Diego Symphony, San Diego Opera, The San Diego Lyric Opera, San Diego Starlight Musical Theater, and the Classics 4 Kids orchestra as well as thousands of chamber music performances with Quartteto Luminoso, her chamber music ensemble, Caprice Strings, and other groups.

Gordon Grubbs, cellist with the Grossmont Symphony String Quintet and principal cellist with the Grossmont Symphony Orchestra, has performed in chamber music and as soloist throughout Southern California and Mexico. He began studying cello in his home town of Wichita, Kansas, with master teacher Lois Ayres Gordon, and quickly distinguished himself as a soloist, a chamber musician, and orchestral player, winning competitions and scholarships to help further his musical studies at the National Music Camp at Interlochen, Michigan. Mr. Grubbs joined the Wichita Symphony Orchestra while pursuing a degree in music performance at Wichita State University. These years provided many opportunities including founding The Chamber Orchestra of Wichita, and becoming a member of the W.S.U. Faculty 20th Century Ensemble while still an undergraduate. After relocating to Southern California, Mr. Grubbs studied with Los Angeles Philharmonic cellist, Ronald Leonard. He has toured extensively in Mexico with the Camerata de Ensenada de Todos Santos and recorded with the Orquesta Pro Musica Ensenada. Mr. Grubbs stays active in the professional musical life of San Diego appearing frequently in recital.

Marc Olsher, bassist, is enthusiastic about learning and playing a wide range of musical styles while also committed to helping other musicians learn the music they are passionate about. Having recently graduated with honors from the University of California in San Diego with a degree in music (B.A.); Marc emphasizes in classical performance, jazz studies, contemporary/new performance techniques, improvisation, and composition. His teachers include Bertram Turetzky, Mark Dresser, Don Palma, Bob Magnusson and many others throughout the years. Marc is versatile when it comes to playing the bass and has a wide range of experience performing a multitude of different music. Instead of being a classical/jazz bassist, Marc labels himself as a musician because he truly believes that there are only two types of music- good and bad. 




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