ELLENSBURG, Wash. — The Anchorage Press says if you’ve missed out on one of electric violinist Geoffrey Castle’s concerts then you should “kick yourself.”
Northwest Arts and Entertainment says a Castle concert is “an evening of pure magic.” And the Anchorage Daily News calls him a “jaw dropping rock violinist.”
Rock violinist? Yep, you read that right.
And on Nov. 5, the Ellensburg community will have the opportunity to check out Castle when he fills Central Washington University’s Music Building Concert Hall with his globally infused, mesmerizing music.
Proceeds from Castle’s show will go to CWU’s Preparatory Strings Program — a music project that gives kids the opportunity to learn how to play a stringed instrument while also providing college students with a paid teaching opportunity.
The program, run by music professor Bret Smith, educates children ages 6 to 18 in string performance. Made up of six ensembles and one full symphony orchestra, Preparatory Strings provides students with a lot of one-on-one time with instructors, supplies instruments, sheet music and finishes off the year with a big performance. It can be found online at http://www.cwu.edu/~music/prep_strings.
“We’re training the next generation of string teachers through this program,” Smith said. “The program has been sponsored by a grant, but soon we’ll need to create a self-support funding base. Geoffrey’s concert will help with that.”
In 2008 the program was given grant support from the NAMM Foundation through the National String Project Consortium.
Smith hopes to see a good turnout at Castle’s concert. Castle is a big supporter of music education. He participates in outreach and school performances, school assemblies, workshops and fundraising performances like the one at CWU.
He takes the stage with a big presence — often donning a straw cowboy hat, leather pants, and cowboy boots. He can get a crowd rocking, such as at a recent show in downtown Ellensburg’s Raw Space, where he had the audience dripping with sweat as they danced and hooted at the stage.
Castle also performs regularly with drum legend Alan White of the band Yes, who also appeared on numerous John Lennon albums. Castle and White play together in the White Sox All-Star Band.
One fan, Tom McKay of Cary, N.C., said on Castle’s Web page, www.geoffreycastle.com, “The White Sox All-Star Band was very good. Especially the guy on the fiddle, he was playing so hard and so fast that he went through bows like they were disposable.”
Preparatory Strings plans to host other fundraising events and welcomes any suggestions and/or assistance from the community.
“This is a good thing to support, especially with the decline of music education in public school curriculum,” Smith said.
Music students will also have the opportunity to participate in a master class and question-and-answer session with Castle from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Nov. 6 in the Music Building, room 153. The public is invited to attend and to bring instruments.
• Friday, Nov. 5
• 7 p.m.
• Music Building Concert Hall
• Tickets $12.50 general admission
• On sale at the door or online at www.cwu.edu/~music/prep_strings/castle.html
• On-campus parking is free