Zionsville Times Sentinel

February 20, 2013

Wood electrifies ZCS string program

Staff report
Zionsville Times Sentinel

Zionsville — Mark Wood, Emmy-winning composer and founding member of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, came to Zionsville last week, bringing a high voltage dose of rock into the school string program. Wood’s music education program, Electrify Your Strings!, took the stage at the Zionsville Performing Arts Center with nearly 350 students participating and a near-capacity crowd for the performance.

The intensive rock and roll workshop has the goal to boost student’s self esteem and motivation, family and community engagement.

“I will see a young person, talented but shy, sitting in the back of the orchestra. I’ll bring them up front next to me where they can’t hide, and you see they feel important. They are like a rock star,” Wood said.

Wood, a classically-trained prodigy who toured with his brothers as a string quartet, was turned on to another genre changing the course of his young career.

“My parents made the mistake of buying me ‘Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,’ and that was it. The Beatles and American music changed everything for me,” Wood said. He believes that young music students begin playing stringed instruments and stay motivated by injecting classic rock and contemporary music into their repertoire.

Wood says, “We are bringing in 21st century concepts and American ingenuity into string pedagogy, not only the software (the music), but also the hardware.” One of his inventions, a Stringray electric violin, was given to the school as a fundraiser with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the ZCS strings program.

See Wednesday's Times Sentinel for more on this story.