"Classical quintet, female inmates in mutual awe at L.A. County Jail" – November 22, 2014

The first ovation did not take long. The moment the musicians entered the room Friday morning, the audience erupted.

The spectators were seated in five long rows, roughly 85 women altogether, all of them wearing the same outfit. Dark blue pants, white sneakers and light blue tops with black stenciling on the back.

"L.A. County Jail."

Because they can't attend a concert at Disney Hall, L.A. Philharmonic violinist Vijay Gupta told the inmates, it was his privilege to bring the music to them. His quartet began with the first movement of Haydn's "Sunrise," and the reaction was immediate.

A woman in the first row closed her eyes and smiled. In the second row, two women wept. And in the third row, a woman sat upright on the edge of her seat, hands clasped under her chin, a look of wonderment on her face.

The light was harsh, and through the windows of the multipurpose area on the second floor of Twin Towers, rows of small cells could be seen. So it wasn't the most intimate of venues, nor the cheeriest, but that didn't matter.

When the first piece ended, there were howls of approval. Some of the women stood and applauded, and the musicians seemed just as awed as their fans.

"Thank you for reminding us why we make music in the first place," Gupta told the audience.

And then it was on to the second movement of Mozart's Duo in B flat, and as I listened, less than a week before Thanksgiving, I noted a message scrawled on a blackboard:

"When there is compassion, giving is not a burden but a joy."

Gupta began performing at homeless shelters and mental health agencies several years ago after meeting my friend Nathaniel Ayers. Gupta was inspired by the Juilliard-trained musician, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia decades ago and ended up homeless on skid row, where he played music day and night to escape his troubles.

Gupta and Adam Crane, another mutual friend, formed a nonprofit called Street Symphony and began recruiting local musicians for their cause. And then Gupta met L.A. County Superior Court Judge Rand Rubin, who gladly arranged for Gupta and his cohorts to go to jail.

"La Sierra Violin Prof Launches OC Studio" – February 22, 2014

International violinist and professor Jason Uyeyama has launched a teaching studio in nearby Orange County, with the purpose of mentoring and nurturing emerging musical talent.

Uyeyama, La Sierra’s director of string studies, founded the Orange County String Studio in Tustin in December, first offering private lessons. The venture is also now providing group and duo instruction. Victoria Belliard, a La Sierra sophomore violin performance major serves as teaching assistant. Violinists Ashoka Thiagarajan and Ellen Jung serve as additional faculty while Uyeyama functions as studio director.

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