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Published May 07, 2010, 07:40 PM

Composer Electrifies School

Musicians at schools around the region are hosting their spring concerts. One local high school had the help of a special guest.

By: Brady Mallory, WDAZ

Musicians at schools around the region are hosting their spring concerts. One local high school had the help of a special guest. The orchestra students at Thief River Falls High School rehearsed as usual, but a special director helped them turn up the music.

It wasn't an ordinary rehearsal at Thief River Falls high school. And the man at the podium is not your typical high school orchestra director. He's Emmy winning composer and violinist Mark Wood, and his resume keeps growing.

"Outside of touring with the Trans Siberian Orchestra, Billy Joel and Kanye West, we work with the great kids of this country," said Wood.

He is talking about his program "Electrify Your Strings." It's a workshop designed for students in high school and middle school orchestra classes across the country.

The program's teaching styles are catching on in many schools. And after an invite from the orchestra director, the violinist has spent a few days teaching these students about the power of music.

"Rock and roll, country music, jazz, hip hop. All that American music connects people. It helps develop the new orchestra," Wood said.

Today, music wasn't the only thing the orchestra had on their minds.

Thief River freshman, Brenna Skallet said, " It's a really exciting experience to have Mark Woods here. We've heard so much about him, we've played his music. It's just a thrill to have him here."

Wood says his program for students is not only fun, but there is an added bonus.

"The scientific research about the brain frequency and stimulus of the brain that music and art do are so important to our development."

Wood believes it's the development in the classroom that leads to developments in the world.

"I really believe in the future of this country with investment. The best investment we can do is the kids that are sitting on this stage."

Note by note, and song by song, this orchestra has found its biggest fan in their director, Derek Druse.

" It's been really busy here, but a couple of times I've stopped and just been almost teary-eye. Just the impact that I see it's having on my students."

It's an impact that is music to everyone's ears.

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