Strings Students Travel to UMSL for a Special Performance by the Hip-Hop Duo, Black Violin
On April 3, 2023, approximately 200 elementary, middle and high school students in the District’s strings music program visited University of Missouri-St. Louis to enjoy a performance by the prestigious group, Black Violin.
Black Violin is an American hip-hop duo featuring classically trained violinist Kevin Sylvester and viola player Wilner, better known by their stage names Kev Marcus and Wil B. Kev. The pair performed pop songs with their classical instruments and then held a question and answer session with the students. Participants asked how the two got started learning their instruments and what inspires them to keep playing every day. Sylvester and Baptiste said they are motivated to play and create when speaking with young musicians, like our students.
Students said they loved dancing along to the music and the creative mash-up of songs by the duo. The performance further inspired students to keep on playing their instruments.
“I am a violin player for life! Before I played the violin, it felt like there was a part of me missing, and now I feel like I found it,” said Deandre, a fifth grader at Jackson Park Elementary School.
Kennedy, a seventh grader at Brittany Woods who plays the cello, said, “I’ve always loved music and the different parts that go into it. I really love the experience of being able to create music myself.”
“I am a violin player for life! Before I played the violin, it felt like there was a part of me missing, and now I feel like I found it,” said Deandre, a fifth grader at Jackson Park Elementary School who plays the violin.
University City High School strings teacher Grace Fitter said the strings instrument program in the District is blooming and powerful in its inclusivity. She said field trips to hear professional musicians play and innovate their music are so important for fledgling musicians.
“The orchestra space can be stuffy and white-washed. These trips allow students to be in a space where more than one person is represented, and more people can be included. Music is an easy space to make space for others.”
Want to hear for yourself about the District’s blooming strings program? Attend the District’s All Strings performance at 6:30 p.m. on April 19, 2023 in the University City High School auditorium. Admission is free!