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Students rock out with top musician

Young talent: Bermuda School of music students

The young music students who have been training with renowned violinist Mark Wood have told how they enjoyed getting thrust out of their comfort zone to perform a rock concert in Bermuda.

Students from the Bermuda School of Music and a student from the Menuhin Foundation, who traditionally perform classical music, learnt rock classics with the Emmy Award-winning musician Mr Wood, who is known for being part of the American prog-rock band the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

He conducted a two-day workshop with the 40 violin, cello and viola students who had learnt the sheet music he sent to them prior to his visit and got to perform in front of an audience at City Hall last night.

Speaking to the audience at the end of the concert, Mr Wood commended the students for their hard work as well as the music teachers saying: “Teachers are everything, without them we have nothing.”

He specifically mentioned director of strings at the Bermuda School of Music Chas Arnold for having the vision to bring Mark Wood to Bermuda calling him “a true leader”. he has brought Mr Wood to the island on several occasions to conduct his Electrify Your Strings programme with Bermuda students as he does internationally.

Sam Webel, 12, a student at the Menuhin Foundation is a rock fan himself, but this was the first time he got to perform it on the strings.

He said: “I am one of the biggest rockers and I found it a very, very, great experience because I got to play all of the songs I love. It was such a great experience to play with someone like him and to hear the story of how he got to play the electric viola.

“My favourite song to play was Crazy Train [Ozzy Osbourne] — I loved how fast we got to play. It was also one of the most tiring songs to play.

“I definitely want to play rock and this has definitely influenced me. I play the drums, but this shows me that anything is possible with any instrument.”

Naphisa Smith, 15, of the Bermuda School of Music is not a fan of rock music, but she said she still enjoyed the experience. She said: “I usually do classical music and a modern type of classical. I have never really done rock. It was different for me. I don’t like listening to rock music, but I actually enjoyed playing it. I really enjoyed playing Hunters of Avatar — I just really liked the tune.”

Jeremiah Samuels, 13, of the Bermuda School of Music: “This was my second time working with him. I played with him last time he came. Before, I wasn’t exactly able to play all the songs well, but this time it was really fun because I was playing the songs well and I knew what I was doing, so I was focusing on having fun. I enjoyed playing all of the songs. I prefer playing classical, but it was still a great experience — the music is really fun and upbeat.”