Internationally recognized violinist Christian Howes is on a mission to enhance the musical education of musicians, teachers, students, and audiences through his annual summer “Creative Creative Strings Workshop and Festival” in Central Ohio June 30-July 5.
Howes is the founder of the 501(3)(c) cultural organization “Creative Strings” whose mission it is to support and transform music education through outreach programming in over 50 schools annually, summer conferences, and online curriculum.
This year marks the seventeenth anniversary of the annual event which, Howes said, draws over 100 musicians from around the world and providing over 20 musical performances for the Greater Columbus area and Delaware.
Howes, a Delaware Hayes graduate and a product of the school’s orchestra program, has either been nominated or won awards from Downbeat, Jazz Times, the Jazz Journalist Association, Chamber Music America, the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation and hired twice by the U. S. State Department for tours abroad. He also mentioned he played for 20 years with Les Paul, world-renowned American jazz, country, blues guitarist, songwriter, and pioneer of the solid-body electric guitar.
“I was in the orchestra program of Stacy Lemke’s first year of teaching,” he said. “I admire the work that someone like Stacy does.”
Stacy Lemke teaches symphony orchestra to the students of Hayes High School and Dempsey Middle School.
Howes said the annual event, held at Ohio Wesleyan University, is an intense week of rehearsals, clinics, and live performances providing string players, ages 10-65, the opportunity to study with and play alongside world-renowned artists.
“I can not stress enough the level of quality of the guest performers,” he said.
This year’s list of 15 artists include the likes of guitarist Rez Abbasi; singer/violinist Nicole Yarling; violinist Jason Anick; bassist Pablo Aslan; Cedric Easton, a Columbus musician with the New York City for Jazz at Lincoln Center; and other highly sought after performers, composers, and educators specializing in Jazz, American fiddle styles, the Tango, Rhythm and Blues, and a long list of other styles.
“I’m glad to have a couple of the Hayes students this year,” Howes said. “There have been former students in their 20s and 30s now, that started coming at the age of 14, who have gone onto work professionally.”
The Creative Strings performance schedule begins with a showcase concert “Music is Love Made Audible” Monday, July 1 at the William Street Methodist Church in Delaware starting at 7 p.m.
“Our guest artists will be featured in a concert benefiting the church’s Ecumenical Youth Group and Delaware City Schools music students,” he said. “The music will include Jazz, Americana, R&B, and music of the world. It is a free concert for the public but we’re asking for a donation of $20.”
The series includes concerts on July 2nd, at the United Methodist Church For All People; July 4th featuring local saxophonist Shawn Wallace; the Finale Concert July 5th in Delaware featuring over 75 musicians from the Creative Strings small ensembles. Each ensemble will present a piece led by a guest artist.
Prospective participants can register online at christianhowes.com/education, or call 614-332-8689 for more information. The event is supported by the Greater Columbus Arts Council, the Ohio Arts Council, the Loft Violin Shop, Yamaha, D’Addario, and the city of Columbus.
The festival is made possible through collaboration with businesses around central Ohio that include William Street Methodist Church, Church for All People, Columbus Metropolitan Libraries, Delaware Libraries, J Gumbos, Dicks Den,, The Loft Violin Shop, LifeCare Alliance, and Central Community House.
For more information, visit www.christianhowes.com/education or www.creativestrings.org.