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'17 Strings' brings 5 musicians together

December 17, 2012
Jenn Brookens , Fairmont Sentinel

FAIRMONT - Out of the quintet that make up 17 Strings, some are still in high school, while others have graduated and just want the opportunity to play music.

Three sisters - Aleythia, Lydia and Charis Johnson - and brother-and-sister duo Eric and Mariah Woodring discovered they enjoyed performing together after a few collaborations. Aleythia, Lydia and Mariah are still in high school and play in the Fairmont Area orchestra.

Eric plays the viola; Mariah and Lydia both play first violin; Aleythia plays second violin; and Charis plays the cello. Combined, the strings on these instruments do not add up to 20; the group's name is something of an inside joke.

Article Photos

Eric Woodring, from left, Lydia Johnson, Mariah Woodring, and Aleythia Johnson practice recently at Woodring’s home in Fairmont. Not pictured is cellist Charis Johnson.

The group has performed at some of the nursing homes and assisted living centers in the area, and the musicians are now working on expanding their musical repertoire.

"Our only issue is learning the music," Woodring said. "We have lots of classical pieces already, a lot from the Baroque era. We're working on some Christmas music right now. But we already have about two to two-and-a-half hours worth of music we can perform together."

The three violinists stated their favorite piece to perform so far is the contemporary song, "The Rose Quartet."

"Fortunately, we don't have to worry about a lot of copyright issues with the older musical pieces," Eric said.

With five performers, he said the group's size is well suited for the music they're playing.

"Any more, and we're going to run out of practice space," Eric joked.

The group hopes that as they get more established, they will be able to perform for events such as weddings, or do background music for parties.

"For now, we're just playing and having fun," Eric said. "We'll keep expanding, because there's lots of music."



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