String Ensemble

This traditional String Chamber Ensemble enjoys making music that includes classical, movie soundtracks, traditional folk tunes, pop music, Broadway and more – all the way ‘From Bach to the Beatles.’

Dr. Phillip Coonce

Conductor, Resa’s Pieces String Ensemble.

Violinist Phil Coonce is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music where he earned his Doctorate in Violin Performance. He also completed the coursework for a Masters in Improvisation from the University of Michigan, and has since taught private students for 45 years. Since1986 he has specialized in coaching music groups composed of amateur adult musicians, a skill he brings now to Resa’s Pieces String Ensemble in Toronto. In this capacity he has served at Merrimack Valley Music and Art Camp, and the Chamber music workshops of Vermont’s Bennington College, Princeton Chamber Music Play Week, and Summer Trios. As a conductor, Phil has worked with several honors high school orchestras: the Albuquerque Youth Symphony, The Orange County (New Jersey) Youth Orchestra, the Vermont Youth Symphony, and the Fairfield Honors Orchestra.

A native of Albuquerque New Mexico, Phil has served as concertmaster of the Spoleto Festival in Charleston SC., the Hoboken Chamber Orchestra and the Brooklyn Philharmonic Outreach. His freelance performance career has ranged from the New York City and Santa Fe Opera Companies to the bluegrass band Right as Rain. Phil and his wife are now living in Toronto, and Phil currently serves on the faculties of the Toronto School for Strings, and plays with the Hand Me Downs bluegrass band.

Interested in Resa's Pieces?

“Resa – you are the best! Thank you for creating a place where over 150 people can have music in their lives. YOU- are extraordinary!

Erica and Eric Walker, RP Singers

“The joy of music flourishes. The interaction between the audience and the musicians was wonderful.”

– P.H.

 “Delightful program and great presentation by a bunch of talented musicians.”

~ Charlotte Haber

“I don’t believe I have ever enjoyed Mozart as much as I did tonight. Congratulations!” 

~Linda G.


Resa's Story

Resa’s Pieces Concert Band first came together back in the year 2000. But the dream of creating this very special group was many years in the making. I knew from the time I was a small child I wanted to study music. My oldest brother used to passionately wave his arms around like a virtuoso conductor, and as I watched I could feel the music radiate from him and come alive.

I started first with the piano when I was very young, and then in grade seven I discovered the flute. By the end of high school it was inconceivable that I would study anything but music at university.

During my years at the Faculty of Music in Toronto, I noticed how competitive many of my classmates were. But being the best was not what drove me. I wanted to enjoy my love of music without pressure. I wanted to be the best I could be, but FOR ME!

After graduating I became an itinerant music teacher for the Toronto District School Board. I loved the fun the kids had in class, and I really loved watching their faces beam with their accomplishments. And then I got married, and started a family, and became a stay-at-home mom. After all those years of being immersed in music every day, now the only music I heard was children’s music, and for the next 20 years my flute never came out of its case.

I treasured those years at home with my kids, but I really missed the fun and excitement of playing music with others, and knew that somehow I had to get it back into my life. So after 20 years I went back to teaching, AND I finally took my flute out of its case and joined a Concert Band. I was rusty, but it was so great to be back making music, and I loved every minute of it.

I soon realized there had to be many others like me, who loved music, but after high school had left it behind. Without having a career that involved music, there were few options to keep it going. I realized there was a real need for a place where adults could come together and return to playing music, and I began to dream about how I could make that happen. I imagined the fun social atmosphere of a high school concert band – but for adults! I hoped that if I created such an environment it would provide the same joy and pleasure I had found. My ultimate goal was to have members of this new group learn repertoire, and then share their music with others.

I began to talk about my idea, and the word spread quickly. Soon I had 18 excited players, and by spring of 2000 the new band could play 8 notes, and 7 songs. So in June we held our first concert. It was only 25 minutes long, but there were 75 people in the audience and they gave us a rousing standing ovation.

And that’s how Resa’s Pieces Concert Band was born! (FYI – The name was chosen by the members!) Along the way I was approached by string players who wanted to join. Well, that needed a whole new group, and so in 2010 we added Resa’s Pieces String Ensemble!

Then in 2013 the Resa’s Pieces Singers joined our music family!

It’s a musical world, and I truly believe that everyone should have the opportunity to have music in their lives. It’s one of my greatest joys to share my love of music every week with all of the dedicated players in the band, knowing that down the hall The Strings and The Singers are having an equally fun musical experience! Between the three ensembles, we now have a total of over 150 enthusiastic adults – who every week get to experience the joy of having music back in their lives, doing their best, and having FUN!  I invite you to join us Monday nights and rekindle the love of music in your life!