by: David F. Ashton, 17-year-old Portland violinist Becky Anderson plays confidently, for good reason: She has already won numerous competitions, and has performed internationally.

Located in an historic firehouse, nestled in Inner Southeast Portland, just a bit north of Brooklyn, is a unique performing arts educational facility called the Community Music Center.

'We're a Portland Parks and Recreation resource,' explained its director, Gregory Dubay. 'We work in partnership with nonprofit organizations, to ensure that no student will be turned away for lack of ability to pay for music lessons.'

The specific reason we visited the Community Music Center on January 21st was to meet a young violinist named Becky Anderson.

We walked up the winding stairs to meet her, as she warmed up in a practice room. Dubay told us, 'Becky is doing this benefit recital for us. She's one of our distinguished alumnae; she's studied music with us for many years.'

Anderson looked poised when she greeted us. With an air of confidence, the charming 17-year-old said, 'The Music Center was very instrumental in starting me in music. I started when I was three years old, taking music lessons here. I began private violin lessons here when I was five years old. I probably wouldn't be playing this concert if it weren't for Community Music Center.'

The music center is an important asset to the community, Anderson explained, because 'Nowadays, there is a lack of music education in many of our public schools. The center helps many young people gain a valuable musical education they couldn't otherwise afford.'

Anderson said she's been applying to colleges and music conservatories. 'I've had some interest from conservatories back east. But, I'm also interested in neuroscience and biochemistry; I'm hoping to continue studies in that, as well as music.'

Before her recital started, we learned from Dubay that Anderson is a senior and National Honor Society student at Lincoln High School. She's won numerous awards, and has performed internationally. 'She'll be performing on the national radio show 'From the Top' in May,' he added.

In performance, Anderson confidently and artistically played a program that included works by Bach, Mozart, Paganini, and Prokovief, with verve.

And, her concert raised $800 for the Community Music Center, Dubay reported.

Music Center Auditorium is located at 3350 S.E. Francis Street. For more information, call 503/823-3177, or visit the Internet website:

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