String instrument pioneer Mark Wood will bring his groundbreaking music education program Electrify Your Strings! at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 18, in the Brunelle Performance Hall at Davis High. Courtesy photo


Electric violinist will perform with Davis string students

By From page A15 | May 10, 2013

Rock musician, recording artist and string instrument pioneer Mark Wood — an original member of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and creator of the revolutionary Viper electric violin — will bring his groundbreaking music education program to Davis.

Wood will perform at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 18, in the Brunelle Performance Hall at Davis High School, 315 W. 14th St. He will join students on his handcrafted seven-string fretted electric Viper violin as part of the Electrify Your Strings! “Turbow Tour.”

(String instruments, after all, are played with a bow, hence the “Turbow Tour.”)

The audience will be entertained by Wood’s original material, as well as his arrangements of rock tunes by Led Zeppelin, Cream, The Beatles and more. Local string students from the All-City Elementary Orchestra — drawing from Patwin, North Davis, Willett, Korematsu, Montgomery, Pioneer, Birch Lane and Chávez elementary schools — the Davis High School Chamber Orchestra and the Holmes Junior High Advanced Orchestra will perform in concert alongside Wood, with proceeds going to support school music programs.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our students to meet and work with a legendary rock star,” said Davis High Orchestra director Angelo Moreno. “Mark is an incredible inspiration to string players of all ages throughout the world as he represents the biggest cool factor out there when it comes to what is musically possible when a string instrument crosses over from the world of classical music to the intense drive of rock and roll.

“Mark’s energy and enthusiasm for educating the next generation of young musicians is off the charts and our concert under his direction is sure to be amazing. All of the students have now turned their attention from Handel and Mozart to the Beatles, Kansas, The Police, Ozzy Osbourne, and more. It is a blast watching them dig into these rock classics and really enjoy rocking out on their instruments!”

Wood’s “Electrify Your Strings” program — now in its 10th year — is a music education experience like no other. Wood and his team work directly with a school’s orchestra director to tailor-design a rock orchestra makeover, complete with a public performance at the end of the experience.

EYS has been featured on “The Today Show,” the CBS Evening News and other programs.

Wood is the owner and operator of Wood Violins, which also makes the Cobra cello and other electric instruments. Wood studied under composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein early in his career; he is a Juilliard-trained violinist and Emmy-winning composer.

In addition to his solo work and his tours with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Wood has worked with recording artists including Celine Dion, Lenny Kravitz and Billy Joel.

To prepare for this concert, Wood will work with the students in the two days leading up to the concert, teaching the students in improvisation, composition and personal expression on their violins, violas, cellos and basses. Utilizing his arrangements that were sent to the district prior to this visit, Davis string students then will perform in concert alongside Wood.

Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Tickets may be purchased in advance at Watermelon Music, 207 E St. in Davis, 530-758-4010, and Kline Music in Sacramento, 916-456-8742.

Jeff Hudson

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