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The Soulstice Strings perform at Patti's Thunder Café in Quincy at Words & Music on Thursday, Dec. 12. From left: Holly Sternberg, Chris Retallack, Johnene McDonald and Tor Murphy. Photo submitted

Quincy Words & Music features Soulstice Strings

Ring in the holiday with the sounds of strings at Words & Music on Thursday, Dec. 12, at Patti’s Thunder Café, 557 Lawrence St., in Quincy, with featured artists Soulstice Strings.

The quartet/quintet is very eclectic and will be performing a variety of music from modern to classics to Celtic fiddling.

Doors open at 6:45 p.m., with the featured artist starting at 7 p.m. The show concludes at 9 p.m.

Soulstice Strings is a reunion of a string quartet named the String Beings that formed when members Holly Sternberg, Kelsey Kepple and Chris Retallack were fifth- and sixth-graders at Quincy Elementary School. These young musicians were the only three children in the community orchestra that ever practiced and they were getting very bored and ready to quit.To keep them interested, Johnene McDonald, their music teacher, made them a promise that “if they would keep playing in the group until summer break, she would start a string quartet just for them.”

That summer the String Beings started rehearsing together as a string quartet. McDonald learned how to play the viola so she could allow Holly and Kelsey to be first and second violinists with Chris Retallack holding down the low end on the cello. The quartet excelled very quickly and soon were playing at many weddings and gigs around Plumas County.

They also recorded a CD called “Mountain Chase,” thanks to Jeff Kepple, who produced and recorded the album.

A few winters back the group reassembled around the December Solstice and their name, Soulstice Strings, came about because the band name decision was made at that time of year.

Soulstice Strings members are currently Holly Sternberg and Johnene McDonald on violins, Tor Murphy on viola and Chris Retallack on cello. The group hopes that Kelsey Kepple can find time in her schedule to be a special guest.

Words & Music is a Plumas Arts program that started in 1989 at Morning Thunder Café with a grant from the California Arts Council. It opens with a featured artist or artists after which an open mic opportunity is offered to performers — novice and experienced — who bring unplugged acoustic performances of music and presentations of the spoken word. Beverages are available for sale.

Sign up at the door before 7 p.m. for an open mic spot following the Soulstice Strings. Admission is $3.

For more information about this or any of the many programs sponsored by Plumas Arts, call 283-3402 or visit online at www.plumasarts.org.

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