North Coast Strings

North Coast Strings

North Coast Strings is a musical ensemble designed to be an entry point for adults who want to learn to play a stringed instrument (violin, viola, cello, bass) or for those who have played in the past, but haven’t picked up their instrument in a number of years.

The orchestra is hosted by the Museum of Making Music and directed by Paula Simmons.

About the Conductor

Paula Simmons received her bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Viterbo College, a fine arts college in La Crosse, Wisconsin. And her Master of Music in Viola Performance from Florida State University in Tallahassee. Before moving to San Diego, she performed with the El Paso Symphony, the Pro Musica Chamber Ensemble in El Paso Texas, and the Jacksonville Symphony in Jacksonville Florida. Since moving to California, Ms. Simmons has freelanced extensively in the San Diego area and the Baja with a variety of orchestras, chamber ensembles and guest performers including Starlight Theatre, San Diego Comic Opera, San Diego Chamber Orchestra, Orquestra de Baja, Camarata de Ensenada, the Bolshoi and San Francisco Ballet, The Moody Blues, Johnny Mathis, Smokey Robinson, Burt Bacharach, Dion Warwick, Natalie Cole, and Michael Crawford. For several years Paula was also the primary orchestra conductor of the Civic Youth Orchestra Organization.

The William & Violet Saxton Music Library

The North Coast Strings program at the Museum of Making Music has received generous support from the Saxton Family Foundation.  This support enabled the Museum to create the William & Violet Saxton Music Library.  Honoring violinist William Saxton, the library features nearly 200 beginner, intermediate and advanced musical works that the North Coast Strings use for their rehearsal and performance repertoire.

Current Offerings

Scholarship Application
Scholarship Application

Adult Music Scholarships offers adults (21 yrs. and older) and seniors with either no music experience, or those who haven’t played their instruments in many years, the opportunity to be a part of either the North Coast Strings Orchestra or the North Coastal New Horizons Band.   One of the most important aspects of this program, is that any adult who aspires to play a musical instrument for enjoyment and health will have access to this program, regardless of financial constraints. Financial assistance can cover monthly dues or instrument rental fees among other expenses.


North Coast Strings Fall 2017 Session

North Coast Strings (NCS) Adult Orchestra is an educational program for adults (21 and over) who would like to learn or refresh their skills on violin, viola, cello or bass in a non-competitive environment. It appeals to both the beginning musician as well as the intermediate player who has some experience on their instrument but is not quite ready to audition for a community orchestra. 


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