By Kathy L. Collins

Myra Sexton, a fifth grade student at Stowers Elementary School, earned the honor to be a member of the Perlman Music Program/Suncoast Super Strings group. In December, Sexton, along with a group of violinists between the ages of 8 and 18, performed with the Perlman Music Program String Orchestra under the direction of internationally acclaimed violinist and conductor Itzhak Perlman in Sarasota.

This year’s composition was Vivaldi Concerto in A minor for Two Violins, RV522 Op. 3 No. 8 “L’estro Armonico,” movement 1. Sexton earned the prestigious spot in the performance after playing from memory the Tutti and Solo lines of Violin 1 part of this composition.

Sexton said, “Preparing to audition took significant time and focus. As with any new piece, it took much practice to learn the piece as written and then to add personality to it through my own playing.”

Sexton added, “Learning I was accepted into the Super Strings group was exciting. The hard work had paid off and in a way was also just beginning because now I had to be able to play the piece like all the other violinists accepted into the program. The experience certainly grew me as a violinist and made me more appreciative of how music is truly a universal language.”

The Perlman Music Program/ Suncoast was established in May 2008 as an independent non-profit organization with the mission to provide a permanent Sarasota winter residency for the program. In 2013, the Super Strings project was introduced to allow a select group of students in the 8 to 18 age range the opportunity to audition and play with the Perlman Music Program String Orchestra.

Sexton said, “The best part of the Perlman Music Program/Suncoast Super Strings experience was, of course, meeting Itzhak Perlman. It was an incredible honor to play under his baton, to listen to his advice about technique and making the music come alive for our audience, and to enjoy his sense of humor. It was also incredible to experience violinists who never played together before play as one, well, actually, given the piece, two violins, almost instantaneously.”

Sexton began playing the violin when she was 5-years-old. Since moving to Florida in 2014, she has studied with Lauren Murphy through her Tampa Suzuki Strings Studio. Visit www.pmpsuncoast.org.