Skaneateles A sensational, “electrifying” event occurred at Skaneateles High School on Wednesday, March 7, when world-renowned electric violinist Mark Wood brought his educational program Electrify Your Strings! to the Skaneateles Central Schools strings program.
Wood, who came to Skaneateles once before in 2009, drew a large crowd, nearly filling the high school auditorium. On stage, he led the elementary, middle school and high school strings students in creative variations of popular and original songs ranging from The Beatles to Ozzie Osbourne to Coldplay. For every song, Wood had several students playing his originally-designed electric instruments to accompany him while he played his electric violin. Also accompanying was one of Wood's brothers, Greg Wood, playing electric cello.
Students were encouraged to participate in simple choreographed motions or even simple dance moves. Wood displayed a lot of interaction and encouragement with the students even while they played.
Wood, who had been in Skaneateles teaching and rehearsing with student musicians since Tuesday, March 6, told the audience what he had been trying to teach the kids for the few days that he was with them that “It's all about expressing yourselves.”
He encouraged community members to continue supporting the education of the arts in Skaneateles schools and said, “On this stage is our best investment—these kids...we can never compromise on them.”
Wood also built an original electric instrument, the 4-string fretless Stingray, specially for Skaneateles which he raffled off to one lucky winner.
Audience members were impressed by the performance. Jacki Gagen, whose daughter Julia was in the elementary strings program, said the show was “Wonderful! Fantastic! Like being at a real concert.”
Doug Arnold, whose son Kellen had attended one of Wood's summer camps in Kansas City three years ago said, “I think what Mark Wood does with the kids is amazing.” Kellen's experience at the camp “still inspires him.”