Mark Wood Visits Ward Melville

Ashley Hong, Staff Writer

On March 2 and 3, students involved in the orchestral programs at Ward Melville, Gelinas, and Murphy joined professional electric violinist Mark Wood for a two-day workshop where they rehearsed rock takes on some classic melodies along with some of Mark Wood’s own original work.

Mark Wood came to Ward Melville with his music education program Electrify Your Strings, which combines classical music with contemporary styles, such as rock, and provides students with a hands-on learning experience. Mark Wood has studied viola at the Juilliard School, and is also an Emmy Award winner and a former member of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Prior to Mark Wood’s arrival, students practiced Mark Wood pieces during their respective orchestra periods for several weeks. All of this hard work and dedication culminated in a final concert held on March 4. The four groups that performed in the concert were the junior high orchestras, 10th grade orchestra, 11th/12th grade orchestra, and Chamber Orchestra. Each ensemble performed two unique pieces with Mark Wood, and at the end of the concert, all 400 students came together in Ward Melville’s auditorium to perform one final piece, “Hoedown,” originally composed by Aaron Copland.

The Mark Wood experience was unlike anything the students have encountered before and thus encouraged them to look at music from a different perspective than they were used to. Sophomore viola player Jaedon Abbott said that the workshop and concert were “definitely worth it.” Abbott had several opportunities to talk with Mark Wood during those few days, and he learned how to play a five-string instrument. He said that “overall, it was a good experience.”

This event succeeded in bringing more attention to the Three Village string program. Mark Wood had been generous enough to donate an electric violin to be raffled off at the concert. Additionally, D’Addario, a manufacturer of musical instrument strings, donated a thousand dollars worth of strings to Ward Melville’s orchestral program. All in all, Mark Wood’s visit to Ward Melville proved to be a great, opportunistic experience for the whole Three Village community.