Class IV Play, Peter and the Starcatcher , Dazzles Audience
by Adrian Hackney on Friday, November 18th, 2016
On Wednesday, November 30th, Victor Wooten, one of the world’s premier jazz bassists, will be performing a fundraiser concert at Milton to support our biannual South Africa Jazz Tour. This appearance is an incredible privilege, as our campus will be exposed to world class jazz as well as an avenue to support the South Africa Tour.
Victor Wooten was born in Idaho in 1964. As a member of an “Air Force Family”, Victor faced numerous uprootings throughout his early childhood before finally settling down in Virginia. In the midst of all the moving, young Victor found solace in music. At age two, his father Regi began to teach Victor the bass, and at age six, he started playing in the Wooten Tootin’ Brothers Band.
While in high school, Victor and his brothers played country music at a theme park near his home. After high school, amidst a visit with friends made at the park, Victor was introduced to Béla Fleck, a studio engineer, with whom he still collaborates musically today. Victor came into worldwide musical prominence in 1990 as a founding member of Béla Fleck and the Flecktones. Since then, Victor Wooten has been awarded five grammys and has played with numerous other famous jazz musicians throughout the globe. As Victor Wooten described in an interview, “Music is a companion…music is a way of life.”
So how was Milton able to get an unparalleled musician to perform for free in support of Milton jazz? We can place all our thanks into our renowned jazz educator, Bob Sinicrope.
Mr. Sinicrope first met Victor in 2012 at a Louisville Jazz Education Network Conference (JEN) concert. Mr. Sinicrope saw Victor perform again in 2014 at the JEN conference. After attending a Victor Wooten Workshop near Nashville, Mr. Sinicrope began a relationship with the bass giant and was able to get Victor to perform at Milton and teach classes in 2014. When he taught classes at Milton, Victor stayed with Mr. Sinicrope at his home residence, and that stay allowed the two bassists to “know each other much better” explained Mr. Sinicrope.
Mr. Sinicrope and Milton’s days with this bass legend did not end in 2014, though. Mr. Sinicrope became a staff teacher at the Victor Wooten/Berklee Summer Bass Workshop in 2014. He was then able to get Victor Wooten to perform the bass on November 30th in order to support fundraising for the 2017 South Africa Tour. Mr. Sinicrope describes how Victor “knows about our South Africa Tour and believes in our mission.” Victor Wooten himself also discussed with me his reasons for returning to Milton. Victor shared his thoughts: “I love sharing my gifts with everyone. My first visit to Milton was so special that I am very happy to have the opportunity to return. It’s really feels good to share music with people, especially young people, who love it as much as you do.”
While Victor plays a score of instruments besides the bass, Victor will not be playing a regular electric or upright bass at the concert. Victor Wooten will bring and play his MIDI bass. As the details of a MIDI bass are beyond me, I will rely on Jam Origin to adequately describe its uniqueness: “MIDI Bass is a revolutionary piece of software that converts your bass guitars analog signal into MIDI, making it possible to use your standard guitar as a MIDI controller/ MIDI keyboard. Play your favorite software synthesizers/samplers with your bass guitar.”
Victor’s concert is not going to be just a traditional, free, open to Milton students type of event. While there will be a certain number of free seats open to Milton students where generous donations are encouraged, the majority of seats will be open for sale to parents and the surrounding community as a means to raise funds for our scholarship students.
The purpose of the concert is to raise money for Milton’s 11th South Africa Tour. I can speak personally towards the transformative experience of the Tour. The Tour allows the jazz students to experience the South African Jazz culture and immerse ourselves in a unique and different experience. Milton students have delivered over $170,000 value of donated music materials to underprivileged South African schools and music programs. As anybody who has gone on the Tour will tell you, the South Africa Jazz Tour is a once in a lifetime experience.
Besides supporting fellow peers by helping raise money for jazz’s South Africa Tour, Milton students and faculty alike are privileged to be able to witness one of jazz’s greatest musicians at work.
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