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Mark Wood to 'electrify' Hudson student orchestras

Hudson Middle School orchestra teacher Rachel Knipfer felt a surge of excitement when she first read an article about Mark Wood's "Electrify Your Strings" program.

Wood plays violin in the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. "Electrify Your Strings" is a music education program through which a team of "teaching artists" work with kids over a two- to three-day visit. Kids will play compositions and arrangements by Mark Wood.

Not long after Knipfer read about the program, one of her friends brought Wood to work with her orchestra in Oshkosh.

"Seeing the positive experience and excitement that her event created in her community motivated me to investigate bringing Mark here to Hudson," Knipfer said.

Wood will be in Hudson on Monday, Jan. 14 working with the seventh grade, eighth grade, varsity (ninth grade) and concert (grades 10-12) orchestras.

They will have a dress rehearsal on the afternoon of Jan. 15 followed by a performance at 7:30 p.m. at Hudson High School Auditorium (1501 Vine St.), Knipfer said.

Tickets for the concert are $12 for adults and $7 for students.

All profits will go to support the Hudson orchestra program.

"We are hoping to be able to set up summer lessons and camp scholarships for our students to continue their playing studies over the summer months," said Knipfer.

The concert music will include Wood's arrangements of "Crazy Train" by Ozzy Osbourne, "Fight Song" by Rachel Platten, and "We Will Rock You" by Queen. The students will also play some original music composed by Wood.

"It is truly a collaborative concert, in that the students will be playing along with Mark (Wood) for all of these pieces," Knipfer said. "As the name of the program implies, there will be several electric instruments involved in this concert for our students to try. The concert will conclude with an exciting finale of all four of the ensembles and Mark playing together."

Knipfer thinks it's important for music instructors to give variety to students.

"For some kids, they need more than just the average things that we do or even have time to do within our classes," Knipfer said. "For this event, it allows more freedom and power given back to our students and allows them to explore more about their own playing than just the classroom can allow."

Knipfer said her goal is to give students more opportunities to play their instruments and express themselves.

"I have always felt we could do more to keep kids excited about string playing and making more connections to popular music," Knipfer said. "There's nothing wrong with the classical world of music, but it's so helpful to let our students find a connection between their instruments and the music that they likely spend more of their free time listening to!"

Tickets can be purchased here.

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

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