The term "meta-grass" was recently coined to describe the music of eclectic fiddler Darol Anger. The Berklee School of Music associate professor joined the School for three days in late March to work with strings students, jam with community members, and perform a public concert along with guitarist Avril Smith, local bass player Chris Dammann, and School orchestras.
"Darol is a superstar in the strings world," said Debbie Lyle, director of instrumental music at the School and coordinator of the visit.
"He is renowned for helping to drive the evolution of the contemporary string band. In his early twenties, Darol joined the David Grisman Quintet. He is a founding member of the Grammy Award winning Turtle Island String Quartet, and he performs and teaches all over the world with other musicians such as Bela Fleck and Tony Rice. It is extraordinary that our students have had the opportunity to play with him as well."
As part of the School's Visiting Artists program, supported by the School's Fine Arts Boosters (STAB Fab), Anger kicked off the event Thursday evening with a jam session open to the entire School community before spending a day working with the Philharmonic, Counterpoints, the Grades 7 & 8 Orchestra, the Grade 6 Orchestra, and all fifth grade strings students. Friday night's open jam brought in some local favorites as well as School faculty members.
The finale of the visit was a public performance on April 1, which followed a day of workshops and a chance for other string teachers and students from the community to meet and play together. The Philharmonic and Counterpoints ensembles performed with Darol for the first half of the program. Darol charmed the audience as he took a seat at the back of the second violin section; the spot, he explained, where he sat in high school. Darol shared and traded solos with students Jinna Han '17, Junho Moon '17, and shared the stage as an honorary Counterpoint as they performed one of his compositions, Blues for Oaktown.
After a standing ovation, Darol ended the concert with a beautiful rendition of Amazing Grace.
"I know I speak for everyone involved with the School's strings programs when I say this visit was a highlight of the year," said Lyle.