Violas for a cause

Friends team up to use their talents to make a difference

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Sophia Hansen (left) and Rachel Greene played their violas at the Camas Farmer's Market last Wednesday to raise money for the Humane Society of Southwest Washington.

Two Camas girls are teaming up to raise money for charity by playing their violas. Sophia Hansen and Rachel Greene played several duets at last week’s Farmer’s Market in downtown Camas, in an effort to raise money for the Humane Society. At the end of the day, the “dueling violas” as they call themselves, had received $113.89 for their cause.

“I thought it was great,” said Greene. “It felt great to use our talents and abilities to give back.”

Hansen, 11, began playing at the market when her friend, Sarah Wells, invited her.

Three years later, Hansen has graduated from the violin to the viola, but the primary motivation to raise money for different causes remains the same.

“I really love animals and wanted to do something to help the local community, so I picked the Humane Society,” Hansen said. “I have a talent and want to use it to help others.”

Greene, 15, joined her this year to help with the cause. The girls met in the Metropolitan Youth Symphony. Greene attends Camas High School and deForest is a student at Skyridge Middle School.

They take viola lessons from Joel Kennedy of Kennedy Violins.

Hansen also plays with the Portland Youth Philharmonic’s Young String Ensemble. Greene is auditioning next month.

In addition to practicing a few hours every day, Hansen and Greene both play the piano and are straight-A students.

Although they were nervous to play at Farmer’s Market, when they realized how much money had been raised in an afternoon, they were excited.

“I feel good knowing we’re helping animals,” Hansen said.

Greene agreed.

“It was nice to know that people care,” she said.

The girls are planning to play their violas for charity again at the market on Wednesday, Sept. 12.

Other volunteer work includes performing for children at The Washington State School for the Blind this fall.

“I am very proud of Sophia,” said Jane deForest, her mother. “She’s using her talent and gift to make the world a better place for others, and I’m honored that she’s found such a lovely girl as Rachel to work with.”

June Greene, Rachel’s mother, said the experience has been good for her daughter, who tends to be shy.

“It was a big step for her to play alone in front of people,” she said. “I’m really proud of her. I had tears in my eyes.”