In 2010 Boston was struck by a terrible tragedy: a quadruple homicide occurred, and a toddler was among the slain. When Bithyah Israel learned of this, she was struck with a sense of urgency and responsibility for the community. “I could not just sit by and not get involved. I feel that if more of us get involved in helping one another, our communities would improve and lives could be saved.”

After speaking with clergy and friends and attending Boston Police Department meetings to find opportunities to help the community of Boston, Bithyah decided to share the gift of learning to play the cello, with young people, through a youth development program centered on musical education. 

"Learning to play the cello at a young age provided me many benefits," Ms. Israel says. "Being an instrumentalist has brought much joy to me."

City Strings United seeks to "Transform Young Lives Through Stringed Instruments."

City Strings United, Inc. 
P.O. Box 95123
​Newton, MA 02495


our History

Mission Statement AND CORE VALUES

City Strings United transforms young lives through stringed instruments. We expose underserved youth to musical experiences where they develop character, build confidence and develop their skills to create lasting social change. Our Core Values: Integrity, Self-discipline, Respect, Peer Mentoring and Pursuit of Excellence.

bithyah israel


​City Strings United performed at the following locations:

Berklee College of Music  

Boston Children's Museum

Hibernian Hallin Roxbury, MA

Historic Shirley Eustis House

MIT Endicott House

Twelfth Baptist Church

UMass Boston


The Boston Globe newspaper features City Strings United.

Bithyah Israel receives "Women of Courage and Conviction" award from The National Council of Negro Women - Greater Boston Section.

CSU performs at The Strand Theatre for the opening and closing nights of exhibit: Triumph! Unsung Black Veterans in U.S. History

CSU appears on numberous BNN television shows, including, "It's All About Arts," "Real Talk," and "Neighborhood Network News."


CSU is featured on WHDH-7 shows "Higher Ground" with Carmen Fields and "Urban Update" with Byron Barnett.

CSU students perform at numerous events: Mothers for Justice and Equality Annual Banquet, Roxbury, MA; Newton Mayor's Open House at City Hall, Newton, MA; "Testimony Through Talent," Myrtle Baptist Church, Newton, MA; Twelfth Baptist Church service, Roxbury, MA.


City Strings United (CSU) is founded.

Bithyah Israel provides free cello lessons to 14 students in Roxbury, MA.

This pilot class performs at Twelfth Baptist Church in Roxbury and for the Black Ministerial Alliance Gala at John Hancock Hall in Boston, MA, and class recital at Twelfth Baptist Church in Roxbury.