By JENNIKA INGRAM | Reporter
Seeking a way to give back to her community during the pandemic and also raise money for a local grief support center, Palisadian Alexandra “Sasha” Schoettler created the “Fiddler on the Lawn” concert series—earning her the title of Hero of the Week from KNX radio.
Sasha, 16, a Palisades Charter High School student and former intern for the Palisadian-Post, organized the weekly string quartet concert series with help from her mother, professional violinist Nina Evtuhov, to fundraise for Our House.
“It has brought so much joy for our neighborhood during these difficult COVID-19 times,” Nahid Massoud, who has attended each of the concerts, shared in an email to the Post.
The idea for “Fiddler on the Lawn” came to Sasha after she noticed how many people passing by their house were enjoying listening to her mom play the violin in duets with her friends in their yard.
She decided to set up the weekly concerts at her grandmother Tanya Evtuhov’s front lawn in El Medio Bluffs.
“We try to do them every Friday from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.,” Sasha shared. The plan is to continue the concerts each week throughout the summer.
“Our very first concert … we raised over $500 at that,” Sasha said. “It was really, really cool.”
There have been 10 concerts so far in the Fiddler on the Lawn series.
“It really brings a new social aspect to this coronavirus thing,” Sasha shared. “It’s really for people of all ages and for older people to have a break in their routine.”
Her mother, a graduate of the Yale School of Music, performs mostly classical music, such as last week’s performance of Schubert, Mendelsohn and Mozart. Nina’s friends volunteer their time to come and play music with her in the series—all with social distancing measures in mind.
For the lawn concerts, they don’t rehearse: “They just sight-read,” Sasha explained. “It’s an adventure for them.”
Her grandmother, Tanya, has lived in the Palisades since the 1960s. Her mother grew up in the Palisades, and so have Sasha and her sister, Clara. Sasha and Clara and their mom all attended Marquez Charter Elementary and Paul Revere Charter Middle schools.
Sasha collects donations from the concert and gives them to Our House, a local grief center providing support to adults, teens and children, which she understands from her own experience.
“I went to grief support groups,” Sasha, whose father passed away in 2010, explained. “I was very aware of what they were doing and I wanted to help. We appreciate anything anyone is willing to give us, and we’ve been able to raise so far [more than] $3,000.”
Our House recently nominated Sasha as KNX’s Hero of the Week. She received the honor and was featured on the radio, Palisadian Robin Blau, volunteer for Our House Grief Support Center, shared with the Post.
During the pandemic and as the need to be socially distant continues, Sasha and her mother plan to continue the “Fiddler on the Lawn” concert series for Palisadians to enjoy.
“We’re all really excited about the money we’ve been raising for Our House and want to continue fundraising for them for as long as we can,” Sasha said.
The Fiddler on the Lawn series has an email list and sends weekly newsletters. For more
information or to be added to the list, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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