1,400 string students to rock out at “Electrify Your Strings” program

May 3, 2015

More than 1,400 NISD string students will have the opportunity of a lifetime when they learn from and perform with Mark Wood, a string master and founding member of the internationally- acclaimed Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Throughout the week of May 4, students from 41 NISD schools will participate in Wood's innovative program “Electrify Your Strings (EYS),” an intensive rock and roll workshop for school music education departments that boosts student self-esteem and motivation. Last year, 600 students participated.

Assisting Wood are team members Laura Kay, Bridgid Bibbens, Haydn Vitera, and Nathan Blake

Two culminating concerts showcasing secondary string students will be held on Friday, May 8 at 7 p.m., and Sunday, May 10 at 4 p.m. at the Aztec Theatre, 104 N. St. Mary’s. Tickets are $18 for general admission, and VIP seats are $35. To purchase tickets, go to http://theaztectheatre.com.

 Due to the number of students participating this year, elementary students will perform in mini-concerts during the week.

The performance schedule for secondary schools is:

·         Friday, May 8: beginning and intermediate middle school students from Rayburn, Pease, Zachry, Jones, Ross, Neff, Rudder, Hector Garcia, and Stinson MS

·         Sunday, May 10: varsity middle school orchestras, Holmes and Stevens HS Orchestras and the Holmes HS Choir 

The schedule for elementary school mini-concert performances is:

·         Monday, May 4, 4-6 p.m. at Hector Garcia MS: Beard, Los Reyes, May, Helotes, Kuentz, Ellison, Aue, Leon Springs, Carnahan, Wanke, Steubing, and McDermott.

·         Monday, May 4, 4-6 p.m. at Pease MS: Fernandez, Hatchett, Cody, Knowlton, and Raba ES.

·         Tuesday, May 5, 4-6 p.m. at Rayburn MS: Glenn, Michael, Valley Hi, Adams Hill, Fisher, and Westwood Terrace.

·         Wednesday, May 6, 4-6 p.m. at Holmes HS: Driggers, Oak Hills Terrace, Martin, Esparza, Powell, Glass, and Villarreal.

Tickets for the mini-concerts are available at the door for $5 per adult and $1 for students.

"The Mark Wood's initiative entitled Electrify Your Strings is truly an exciting way to connect young musicians to the advanced applications available in technology by which to enjoy, experience, and to learn how to play string instruments,” said James Miculka, director of Fine Arts programs in NISD.  “Mark Wood has maintained cutting edge applications in orchestral scoring as demonstrated in the Trans Siberian Orchestra and has found a unique and very exciting way to transfer this application to serve as inspiration to budding string musicians. This event promises to be uplifting to both musician and audience member.”

Wood has been dubbed “The Les Paul of The Violin World” by PBS. He is the inventor of the Viper electric violin and holds the patent of this first ever self-supporting violin. He also writes and records original music for film and television, has released six solo albums, and regularly tours with recording artists such as Billy Joel, Kanye West, Lenny Kravitz, and Celine Dion, as well as tours with his own band.

Wood says that his absolute passion lies with music education.  Schools participating in the Electrify Your Strings program include Holmes and Stevens high schools; Hector Garcia, Jones, Neff, Pease, Rayburn,  Ross, Rudder, Stinson, and Zachry middle schools; and Adams Hill, Allen, Aue, Carnahan, Cody, Driggers, Ellison, Esparza, Fernandez, Fisher, Glass, Glenn, Hatchett, Helotes, Knowlton, Kuentz, Leon Springs, Los Reyes, Martin, May, McDermott, Michael, Oak Hills Terrace, Powell, Raba, Steubing, Valley Hi, Villarreal, Wanke, and Westwood Terrace elementary schools.

For additional information, contact Heather Gonzalez, orchestra director at Rayburn Middle School, at 397-2213.