Performing Arts Series: Mark O'Connor

Mark O’Connor’s visit to Goshen College on Tuesday night brought crowds ready to bop and jive to some smooth, swing tunes.

O’Connor, an American fiddler, composer, and teacher performed with his acoustic and vocal ensemble in Sauder Concert Hall as part of the 2011-2012 Performing Arts Series.

Accompanying O’Connor on vocals was Heather Masse, best-known by her folk group, The Wailin’ Jennys, who visited the Sauder stage in 2010.

Playing guitar were Frank Vignola and Matt Munisteri, and Gary Mazzaroppi was on bass. Each of these musicians have successful careers individually, but together they carried the swing of O’Connor’s fiddling.

The group played both classics and new music written by O’Connor, often in memory of experiences or persons in his life. O’Connor’s music curriculum is frequently used through the United States, and over 5,000 graduates have passed through his music camps.

Several of the pieces played Tuesday commemorated the lives of teachers with whom O’Connor had worked closely for the decades that his music camps have been active.

Although O’Connor has often worked in the folk tradition, his concert at Goshen College, “Hot Swing,” featured songs referencing swing and jazz styles.

The next concert in this year’s Performing Arts Series will be the Irish-American band “Cherish the Ladies,” on April 14 at Sauder Concert Hall.

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Written by Anna Ruth

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