|On Monday, December 12th at 7:00 PM, legendary New York City-based violinist/fiddler, composer, and multi-Grammy winning recording artist Mark O’Connor will join the Abilene Independent School District Orchestras, led by Debbie McKelvey, Director of Orchestras at Craig Middle School, for “An American Festival” concert. Sponsored by internationally famous violin company, SHAR Music, and Mr. O’Connor, the concert will be held at the Abilene Civic Center, located at 1100 North 6th Street. The program will feature favorite tunes from the popular new O’Connor Orchestra Method, in addition to solo works played by Mr. O’Connor. The public is invited to attend this major event. (Free Admission).
When music educator Debbie McKelvey discovered that her school had a chance to win a performance with Mr. O’Connor, valued at tens of thousands of dollars, she immediately envisioned the positive effect that such a concert would have on her students and her school. Encouraging her students’ involvement in writing essays to be submitted to SHAR Music, Ms. McKelvey says she was ecstatic when the winners were announced, and that Craig Middle School emerged as one of the four national winners, out of the hundreds of schools that entered. The other winning schools are in Florida, Michigan and North Carolina.
Currently in the fourth decade of a remarkable career, O’Connor has witnessed countless “Aha” moments on the faces of the young participants at his popular nationwide fiddle camps, discovering the pleasures of learning to play familiar songs, performing with others and expressing themselves through improvisation. With an emphasis on improvisation and collaborative engagement, unique among teaching methods, the O’Connor Method aims to put creativity at the center of teaching music. Using familiar American tunes, with their roots in African, Latino, as well as European music, the goal is to equip the 21st Century Musician with the skills and motivation required to succeed and, more importantly, to contribute to America’s rich and broad musical heritage.
Today, the O’Connor Method, although still less than two years in print, has been embraced by countless violin teachers, a testament to its efficacy. “Creative training is essential . . . and getting kids to fall in love with playing music” is the mantra behind the method, says Mr. O’Connor.